They do it differently over here…….

International comparisons

I have for over twenty years lived under the French health system which is a mix of public and private funding.The French health care system is one of universal health care largely financed by government national health insurance.In all those years I have never had to wait for an appointment to see a GP. (if one is busy just go to another one, carrying our own notes and a centralised computer system makes this easy.) You do pay to see the GP, but this is reimbursed part by the state and part by private insurance . The French government generally refunds patients 70% of most health care costs, and 100% in case of costly or long-term ailments. Supplemental coverage may be bought from private insurers, most of them nonprofit, mutual insurers. Primary health care is provided by a network of 23,000 general practitioners (in French, médecins généralistes) (a ratio of 1 GP per 2600 inhabitants). Most GPs are self-employed professionals, and work either on their own, or in group practices

Hospitals are superb although we do pay a “bed and board” fee, after all if you were at home you would be paying for heating and food  – why do you expect it to be free when in hospital. I can go directly to any specialist or consultant. I do not have to be “referred”. GPs do not exercise gatekeeper functions in the French medical system and people can see any registered medical practitioner of choice including specialists. I can ring up today and see a cancer specialist tomorrow. Sure it is not cheap but then you usually get what you pay for. I think French spending on health is a couple of points higher as a percentage of GDP. Of course the NHS is “the best in the world” (except on the saving lives measure) whilst not wishing to dispute this claim I do believe the French NHS is on a par…