How UK Health System Works: VT Nurse and former British resident explains

Report from Windsor County resident and nurse Dawn Griffis, see her book at: www.dawngriffis.webs.com

Britain has always been considered to be in Socialized category. There is a misconception how this is paid for, it is as follows: each worker is given a National Insurance (NI) number, similar to the Social Security numbers we have in the US. Each worker has money deducted from their pay; to pay their share of NI the employer also pays a share into NI for the employee, again the same as here in the US, but in Britain they do not have to pay for Medicare it is not needed. This NI deduction from the salaries is all that is used to pay for all medical care, Old Aged Pension (OAP), Pension Credits, and Family allowances and any additional benefits as is deemed need by individuals to live.

When an employee female reaches 60, male 65 then the employee no longer pays into NI – the employer continues to pay at the same rate listed below.
Patients under 60 women, 65 men have to pay co-pay for prescriptions at the rate of $9.90 per prescriptions, unless disabled etc. over those ages no co-pay.

The total amount paid into National Insurance is less than what SS, Medicare and Health Insurance is here, because no one is trying to make a profit out of it.
This is paid for as per the table below; there is nothing extra to pay for, ambulances, home care, therapies everything is included free of any cost.
The pay scale for payment to National Insurance is prorated, it is as follows converted to dollars at the current rate of $1.65 to the pound; this is using the table from April 2007 to April 2008:

Earnings to $8,968 a year nothing to NI from employee or employer
Earnings to $66,066 a year minus the $8,968 allowance, then the employee pays 11% on earnings balance the employer 12.8% on earnings balance all is prorated.

Examples:
Employee = $66,066 - $8968 =$57,098 x11%= $6,281 a year or = $523 a month
Employer = $57,098 x12.8% = $7,309 a year or =$609 a mo. Bringing the total from both to $1132 a month

Vermont’s minimum wage is $8.06 hr. at that level converted would be:

Employee = $16,765 – $8,968 =$7,797 x11%= $858 a year or $72 a month

Employer = same balance $7,797 x12.8%= $998 a yr or $83 a mo, bringing the total from both to $155 a month
Earning over $66,066 a year amount paid over the amount listed above only an additional 1% is added by both the employer and employee.
Example: earnings of $88,088 additional due by employee and employer would be

$88,088 minus $66,066= $22,022 x 1% = $220 a year or $18 a month from each Bringing total from both to $36 a month.

People in the Health care field here think they would not be paid enough to survive, here is the pay scale for Family Physicians (GP’s) converted at the current rate of $1.65 to the pound; followed by the Nurses pay scale.

This is their pay nothing has to come out of it but NI and income taxes. The National Health sets up and finances the clinics and the hospitals etc plus all additional employees by each place having a negotiated budget. Every clinic has its own visiting & specialty nurses and pharmacy. The pharmacy is for those that live over a mile from the clinic, if there is a pharmacy in town- if there isn’t one then everyone can get their meds from there. Home care needs are generated from the clinics including the other health care providers.

Every worker in UK has a minimum of 4 weeks paid vacation a year and this will increase to 8 weeks a year, plus 10 holidays a year. Vacations can be taken after the first 3 months of working, taken a week at a time until allowed more.

Salaries as follows again at the current rate of $1.65 to £1:

Family Physician (GP)

If not in a partnership therefore smaller practice wage is: $99,000 to $123,750 a year
In a partnership they earn a wage in excess of 6 figures, low side being $198,000 a year
All uniforms are supplied by employer:
New staff Nurses to senior staff nurse wage range is $34,172.00 to $55,170.00 a year
Senior nursing positions wage range is $49,152.00 to $108,335.00 a year

In the large cities the rate is higher for all employees otherwise it is the same throughout the country.
I grew up in England pre National Health (NH) and lived and worked in the Health care system as a SRN (RN) until 1965. In addition I returned to England to live in 2005 for 4 years with my husband an American.

History of what Nat Health was like when first started in 1948:

When NH first started we did have to sign up with a doctor of our choice within a designated distance, primarily because most people relied on public transportation and most of the visits done by the doctors were in the home. Hospital admissions were to the hospital closest to your home, usually a general hospital of varying sizes, for specialty services the patient was transferred to the main hospitals in the district that could offer all services – those usually within 20 miles of their home. Acute illnesses, accidents, and emergencies were admitted immediately; elective surgeries were usually put on a waiting list, if it became an acute situation then admission was immediate. Waiting lists could take time depending on the amount of immediate admissions were taking up the beds.

Upon returning to England recently we found that we could register with any doctor we wanted, preferably within the same county you lived in, but not required. Doctors still do home visits, but not as many as they used to. I only paid into the National Insurance (NI) for 7 years, my husband never had. When we returned we each chose our own physician, my husband was given a National Health number and immediately signed up to see the physician he chose. Later he was given a National Insurance number but did not have to pay into it. All care for both of us during the 4 years we were there was free – we did not have to co-pay for medications because he was over 65 and I was over 60. For both of us this also included our entire dental and eye care. The longest we had to wait to get a dental appointment was 3 weeks and doctor’s appointment was 10 days and that was because we said there was no rush.

They have now solved the long hospital waiting lists by having built several hospitals in different areas across the country, all they do is take people on waiting lists, so that no one has to wait more than 6 months, unless they have a medical condition like an infection develop that would have to be resolved before they could be operated on safely; the patient has a choice as to which hospital they want to use. The choice for admissions to a hospital for any reason is discussed with the patient according to what is needed and what the hospital has to offer; though most tend to select the hospital closest to their home that they are familiar with. The local people become very attached and possessive of ‘Their hospital’ usually doing all kinds of fund raising, to get extra things that they want for ‘Their hospital’. This is because they know the hospital isn’t trying to get rich off their backs, and the patients, themselves benefit for it!