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Forums - General Discussion - Do you have Public Health System in your Country? Do you like it? Or would prefer it to be private? (NHS related)

I'm Brazilian, with Italian citizenship, living in UK for the past 9 months. Has been a blast so far, much better than I expected, its like a dream come true. Definitely will not come back to Brazil to live if I have the option.

But I'm going crazy with the NHS and now I miss having private insurance. Of course, Brazil public health is a pile or garbage where people die in the hospital corridors, sometimes like a horror movie. But in Brazil, if you have private insurance, you can see a doctor at the same day, have an MRI in the next, the results in the other day and come back to the doctor the next day. Like, if you injury your knee, in 4 days you can have a diagnostic including an image exam in a top place. If it is private. If it is public, well, good luck, I hope you dont die.

5 weeks ago I injury my right shoulder and left knee. Cant move my right arm, my left knee hurt as hell but I can walk. OK, time to test the NHS. GP could not see me the same day, so I went to the hospital. Got checked there, nice treatments, had an x-ray for the shoulder. Nobody cared about the knee. Treatment: get some painkillers and do home exercises, will take two months to heal.

After three weeks didnt get better, tried the GP. Cant make an appointment, he calls back and makes appointments only if necessary. He calls me and asks me to come back to hospital to have an x-ray specifically to check if shoulder was dislocated. Then call NHS requesting Fisiotherapy. Go to hospital, they tell me to go home and have painkillers and do home exercises. I asked but they refused an MRI. I call NHS for Fisio, after 30 minutes making an assessment on the phone they tell me to do 3 more weeks of home exercise.

I give up on NHS and decide to use my company private insurance. They tell me the GP needs to first give me a referral. For me makes no sense the private insurance dont have GP's. Call the GP again, which says will do the referral letter for me. After 3 days of no answer I call them and they say to me referral letter take up for two weeks to get ready. I panic. Try other Pratices, they all tell me yes it takes up for two weeks for a goddam letter to use my PRIVATE insurance, and the other pratices I cant join since its out of their catchment area. 

So I decided to go for a private GP and spend 100 pounds. Will see him friday. I hope he can give this letter, so I can use my private insurance.

In the moment Im considering buying a ticket and one week of vacation to get treatment in Brazil or any other country with the option of private treatment.


Sorry for the long story, but this is what is happening to me in a 1st world country with, in theory, a great publich health system. 

What about you? Canada? Germany, Italy, nordic countries? How does it work there?

Americans... careful what you wish for...


Sorry for the wall of text, I considered deleting it but gave up.

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I live in the U.S.A. I have private health insurance. It is fine but can still be expensive. I will change health insurance providers in a few months.

Your description of Brazil's public health system is morbidly hilarious.

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We do have two public health care institutions, one for private workers (IMSS) and another for state workers (ISSSTE). Right now, unfortunately, they're not at their best moments. From an organizational perspective, both systems suffer from archaic administration and other issues like corruption, which translates into bad-quality services for the rightholders: medical attention can be poor, services are slow, medicine is lacking and, of course, you're better off spending on private health care centers for life-risking situations, because there's a great chance the government services aren't going to be enough.

As bad as they can be, though, we cannot let them go, otherwise plenty of people in the country would become unable to pay expenses for health care. Even then, it can be a bless sometimes. My mother has been living with rheumatoid arthritis for more than 3 decades now and certain symptoms become worse, so she has been supplied with a medicine from the IMSS each year that would've costed her over a thousand dollars each application in the private sector.

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Our health care system is terrible, Yeah I can get seen, but everything costs an arm and a leg, even with insurance you have to get a second mortgage just to afford anything. It is to the point where millions are afraid to catch a cold because they can't afford basic care. I would LOVE Canada's health care.

Italy, we have NHS, many critique it for taking too long to recieve the proper treatment but I wouldn't give it up for anything in the world, if I'm in a hurry I can go private (or if I'm in high danger I get priority anyway), but if I'm not I just save a lot of money

Last edited by Luke888 - on 24 May 2018

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I'm in Canada and while it is free, prepare to wait a long time. Some things work better than others and it mostly depends on who you get as doctor and nurses. My wife has been dealing with the system for the past 3 months fighting a nasty infection. It's the people that make the system work and there simply aren't enough of them. Overworked and understaffed is my impression of the healthcare system here.

Signalstar said:
I live in the U.S.A. I have private health insurance. It is fine but can still be expensive. I will change health insurance providers in a few months.

Your description of Brazil's public health system is morbidly hilarious.

How much do you pay by month if you dont mind me asking? Is it usually quick to get treatment? Does the doctors avoid or delay treatment in order to save money? For example denying doing an MRI so the private insurance company can save money? Or is it quick, you can select our professional etc?

And why does it still cost money if you have insurance?


I never had to worry about medical expenses in my entire life. I believe that is a big advantage from a psychological standpoint and a big factor in your scheme of life.

I never had any problems with long waiting times either. I mean I have a great local doctor, and he takes his time with people. That is a good thing. When I had to go to the ER or something they always treated me quick.

Also, when people complain about waiting times. The thing is, even if you have to wait, you are being treated eventually, as opposed to not at all.

How does private health insurance even work if you are born with a medical condition that requires medication or treatment. Will you even be able to find insurance or will you have to pay for everything yourself for your entire life?

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- George Orwell, ‘1984’

I’m from the Netherlands.

Everyone has standard health insurance covering things like illness, checkups and accidents, and you can choose which additional package will suit you best (for example if you need glasses). Basic and necessary stuff is always covered, but if you want something that’s not medically required (like have braces in your 40s because you think your teeth aren’t straight enough), you’ll have to pay a part of the costs (depending on your additional package) yourself.

Last edited by S.Peelman - on 24 May 2018

I have free health care in the us. I didn’t a few years ago and it sucked but I could have still got services if I applied for charity’s. Any way. It’s all a joke. No one cures shit anymore. I wish we did away with insurance and went back to pay per service like in the fifties and before. Doctors came to your house and it cost about a day’s wage. This shit about services costing thousands of dollars for just being seen in an emergency situation is criminal. Even if insurance is the one paying it. That is an outrageous amount period.