The UK National Health Service

After reviewing the United Kingdom’s healthcare system, how does it compare to the United States. What are the similarities? What are the differences?

Each of the countries that make up the United Kingdom has its own National Health Service. Access to healthcare is a basic right to all citizens and residents of the United Kingdom. Through the National Health Service, UK citizens can access healthcare services whenever they need them. This is a program for making sure that health services are accessed by citizens throughout the United Kingdom. This program is also market-minimized (Walley, Silvester, Steyn & Conway, 2006). In other words, the most popular means of accessing healthcare delivery in the UK is through the National Health Service program. Before the adoption of the National Health Service in the UK, citizens had no guarantee or right to access healthcare services. In the US, there is no universal healthcare delivery to citizens even though the country is highly industrialized.

The universal healthcare plan in the UK is funded through government revenues earned from taxation. However, public and private insurance plans fund the US healthcare system. This implies that the cost of US healthcare is taken care of by individual patients through insurance plans. Healthcare spending in the United States has been known to be higher than in the United Kingdom. In addition, about 8% of the Gross Domestic Product in the United Kingdom is spent on healthcare delivery. However, the United States spends about 15% of its Gross Domestic Product to facilitate healthcare delivery. Moreover, only 28 percent of the US population is taken care of by the public healthcare system (Ragupathy, Aaltonen, Tordoff, Norris & Reith, 2012). On the other hand, close to 100 percent of the UK population has been covered by the National Health Service plan. In terms of similarity, both the US and UK healthcare systems have been undergoing rigorous reforms in order to improve efficiency in care delivery. Furthermore, both systems have embraced the public healthcare plan.

 Saint Lucia spends 4.3% of its Gross Domestic Product on healthcare. How might this impact the health of its citizens?

Saint Lucia’s resource allocation in healthcare is apparently poor. For example, the UK spends about 8 percent of its GDP in facilitating the universal healthcare plan. In spite of this amount, the UK authorities are still seeking alternative ways of boosting healthcare delivery in the region. As it stands now, Saint Lucia cannot adequately cater for both preventive and curative healthcare services due to the meager budget allocation. The main health challenges facing Saint Lucia are intestinal difficulties and poor nutrition. The government has not been in a position to effectively handle healthcare challenges posed by terminal infections such as cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular failure.

These are just some of the health challenges facing Saint Lucia that can be successfully handled by allocating additional funds to the healthcare sector (Tsounta, 2009). Alternatively, it is still possible for the Saint Lucia government to offer high-quality healthcare services to its citizens with 4.3% of the GDP (Tsounta, 2009). For instance, the government can adopt a universal healthcare plan for all citizens. This will improve the current level of access to healthcare services. The budgeted amount can be allocated to some of the most demanding areas in healthcare delivery. For example, there was a time when Tuberculosis was a major health concern in Saint Lucia. However, the government laid a lot of emphases and channeled funds towards addressing this health challenge. Currently, TB is no longer a threat to healthcare delivery because it has been curtailed. The minimal healthcare budget can also be supplemented by private healthcare insurance.

References

Ragupathy, R., Aaltonen, K., Tordoff, J., Norris, P., & Reith, D. (2012). A 3-dimensional view of access to licensed and subsidized medicines under single-payer systems in the US, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. PharmacoEconomics, 30(11), 1051-65.

Tsounta, E. (2009). Universal Health Care 101: Lessons for the Eastern Caribbean and Beyond. Geneva: International Monetary Fund.

Walley, P., Silvester, K., Steyn, R., & Conway, J. B. (2006). Managing variation in demand: Lessons from the UK national health Service/Practitioner Application. Journal of Healthcare Management, 51(5), 309-320.