Monday Moods: I feel... social(ized).

Back home in the states,
Obama's health care reform is a big deal.

A lot is changing, a lot is discussed,
& a lot of comparisons have been made.

Now this Aspiring Kennedy
is actually a Texan by birth.

My forefathers would have more likely voted for Nixon than JFK...
and the changes threatening the quality of our privatized health care 
can be a touchy subject down in those parts.

But these days,
 I live in England.

And as a resident of this fine island,
I participate in NHS for my British-based medical issues.

I've been to the doctor twice.
I've had friends have babies here.
I've seen friends experience emergency situations here.

I hope this doesn't ignite political fights or banter
(because I don't really have an opinion on which is "better"),
but can just provide you a glimpse of the NHS experience here in the UK.

While it's definitely not the same sterile setting 
as the medical centers back in the States,
you do get the care you need.

And the best part-
no copay, no hassles, no nothing.

Everything is completely free.

And prescriptions?

While the experience is definitely different in setting & protocol,
the basic routine/exam/consult was pretty standard to what I've had back in the US.

I left happy...
and with two sore arms from my vaccines.

{or "jabs" as my nurse called them.}

So take a peek into my visit to the Doctor
for my pre-travel shots & consult that I had this morning...
and you can imagine how you might feel being a part of socialized health reform.

Forget parking garages & medical complexes.... medical centers here are typically in converted houses.

Feeling right at home (?)

Reception. No forms, copay, etc. Just give your name and head to the waiting room.

Well, I feel less nervous about those horror stories of "overcrowded waiting rooms." 

Magazines in the fireplace.

Hey- they have outdated magazines to read while you wait in England, too!

Most people meet with the nurse, unless she moves you on to the Doctor.
Painful shots are, apparently, universal.

Paperwork is done in the exam room.

This crappy door did make me laugh. Oh well.

*all images original to Aspiring Kennedy


  1. when we were in scotland, one of our guys drunkenly decided to hop a fence...made of iron...with spikes on top. he seriously hurt his hand. and we were all (and still are) in awe that his long night in the er ended with him being completely healed and not a penny spent (except the cab fare). amazeballs.

  2. This sort of thing always starts a ruckus but I am so very grateful for the NHS; I have lived in America and I love it and would move there tomorrow if it were my choice, I would probably vote Republican but the healthcare issue is a biggie for me as I am British and very much sui generis as I have been brought up with the NHS.
    Still.. your hospitals are so glam!

    Oh and look at you with your exotic fancy 'z's! ;)

  3. Belle: My sister did the exact same thing as kid, she vaulted the spikes - it did not end well.

  4. hahaha your GP has some cool magazines! The Nhs is ok, but I still prefer medical care a la continental Europe

  5. I have lived in Canada, and trust me, I could not be more grateful for the free medical system... When my fiance and I were working in Peru, he was diagnosed with cancer, and the tests he needed to take were 5000$..... just for tests!.... needless to say, we headed back to Canada and got great attention, surgery and post-surgery was taken care of.... no complaints. So even if the paint job is not as good.... I'll get over it! haha

  6. My sister lived in Italy and said the same - so easy and inexpensive. Although I have British friends who complain...but it sounds good to me.

  7. I love the photos of your trip to the physician. So charming. I do believe that there are advantages to both systems.... So happy you have had wonderful experiences.

  8. loved this post. I am from california (the more liberal state) and had a few mishaps with preexisting conditions in the states, i always had decent health insurance and was treated well...and then i moved to england and realized how much quicker and easier it was to get treated paperwork, no calling to make sure your covered, no copay, no stress about how much insurance will cover me on and how much ill owe....i have been to the doc three times here now..twice in england, and once in northern ireland..i only paid once out of three times for a perscription and it was only 6 pounds. In northern ireland the doctor was one of the best i have EVER seen; he even made me a second appt to that same day to make sure i was ok. meds in northern ireland are ALWAYS free. mind.blown.

    and that is my bit on the NHS.

  9. I haven't experienced healthcare overseas, and as a fellow (but Democrat) Texan, I know we need changes.

    I'm not sure if what we have proposed will be it, but goodness knows it is wrong when someone is denied care because he/she doesn't have health insurance or can only afford a certain tier of care. So somehow, some way, I hope for good changes.

  10. Hey Lauren! I found you through The Graduate Wife. I am a Republican Californian (huh?) but live in England now. While I was perfectly healthy my whole life, I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes three years ago at age 27 in Atlanta. Aside from a few annoying bureaucratic hurdles, I had excellent care and great insurance through my employer. I love that the NHS is free, but I also hate that the communication between hospitals/GPs/etc. SUCKS and I am stuck without choices. I feel like I have to wait forever to get anything done, and I usually get letters every few weeks telling me that my appointment has been postponed. There are definitely advantages to both systems, but if I were really sick but didn't know what was wrong with me, I'd get my booty on a plane to America ASAP. In my experience, it'd be months before doctors here got it together enough to diagnose me with anything, let alone fix me. There are some pretty funny stories about interactions I've had with the NHS on our blog: if you're interested.

  11. i love the NHS, it has been there for me when I really need it. I have never had to wait for treatment (i don't consider 2 weeks for a non-emergency scan) and it is fantastic when you need it. it is true, communication can be a bit rubbish, i expect that varies between GP surgeries, but there are plans to introduce new systems and the pictures above don't reflect most facilities (my GP is in a shiny new building and my local hospital is pretty new too!). I wouldn't change the NHS at all, I get healthcare through my work (Nicola - if you have issues with the NHS you can take out BUPA which is very good private cover, but if you are very sick, the NHS is the best place to be, our emergency case is world class - see the show 24 hours in A&E) but I choose not to use it and support our fantastic system!! gushing done :)


  12. This made me laugh so much! I'm a British native and it's always funny to see things that you've grown up with from another perspective. I'd never even thought how quirky our GP surgeries are but you're right! But the strangest thing is that you made a photo shoot of your visit - that is hilarious! Were they ok with it? Did you have to ask? My mind is boggling with the social protocol for such a thing!


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