Health Systems in France and the United Kingdom

Health Systems in France and the United Kingdom

The paper is intentioned to provide a vivid description of the health care structures in France and the UK. In this regard, therefore, the paper begins by giving a detailed discussion of the health schemes in the two countries. It is from the discussion that a choice is made on the one considered as better of the two with supporting reasons. Further, the key indicators stated in OECD are used in determining the better health organization.

A health care scheme is simply an organization of people or institutions that are charged with the responsibility of delivering health facilities with the intentions of meeting the needs of its target population (Boslaugh, 2013). Therefore, all health schemes are endowed to care for the people. Health in people ensures carrying out of daily activities without hindrances of ailments.

The health care system of France is a universal health system bankrolled by the government’s general health insurance. It is among the best health care given in the entire world. Most of the France citizens enjoy the presence of the best health facilities in the entire world (Quaye, 2010). This is regarding accessibility and affordability of the health facilities in France. Initially, the health scheme in France covered only workers and retirees excluding the poor population. The biased coverage left the poor population suffering and dying which placed France at a standard that was not the best. The universal health care brought by Lionel Jospin extended the coverage to all the legal residents of France including the poor. The inclusion helped raise the standards of the health care systems thus making them among the best in the whole world.

Contrary to most countries in the world, health care physicians working in private practice in France get their proceeds from the public cover funds. The drawing of their earnings from the public insurance motivates the caregivers and other physicians hence increasing productivity. They are result oriented as opposed to relationship oriented while at work. The hard work and commitment they put in their works helps save people’s lives alongside improving the standards of the healthcare organizations. Furthermore, the government of France refunds patients most of their health care costs. In the extreme cases, the government refunds all the health care costs for the long-term ailments. The refunds help empower patients by making them afford other essential services.

The health systems in the United Kingdom are devolved to various counties. Devolving of health care system simply means that England and other nations have their schemes of publicly funding health systems (Health at a Glance 2015, 2015). In this regard, therefore, each region has its policies and priorities concerning the health care system. The independence regarding policies and priorities brings forth a variation in the standards of the health care systems in the United Kingdom (Scaletti, 2014). Contrary to this, all the United Kingdom permanent residents are entitled to a free healthcare at the point of need. Moreover, the funding of the health schemes in the United Kingdom is from the general taxation done by the French government (Health at a Glance 2015, 2015). The reason the insurance scheme of health care systems in France covered only government workers at the beginning.

Concerning the better health system between France and the UK, the France health scheme seems to be better and more efficient as compared to the United Kingdom health scheme. France’s health organization is better because it combines the universal coverage with a public- private mix of hospitals. Moreover, it also combines the ambulance services and advanced service provision within the ambulatory services than the United Kingdom. Furthermore, despite the expenditures being far lower than the United Kingdom, customer satisfaction is high in France than the United Kingdom. On the other hand, the customers or patients in France are left with a variety of choices to make concerning the providers they want. The freedom to choose ensures that all patients and customers are satisfied in all that they do.

There is increased accessibility to comprehensive health services for the average and older population in France than in the United Kingdom. The older population and the average are expected to access the comprehensive health services easily in the United Kingdom than France due to the fact of increased expenditure. The health expenditure in the United Kingdom in the year 2000 was 13% of the GDP as compared to France’s 9.5% of GDP (Health at a Glance 2015, 2015). Even if the expenditure and financing have kept increasing in both countries, the increase in France is lower as compared to that of the UK. For the last fourteen years, the expenditure in France has increased by 1.4% from 9.5% in 2000 to 10.9% in 2013 (Health Resources, 2015). In the United Kingdom, the health expenditure has increased by 3.9% from the 12.5% in the year 2000 to 16.4% in the year 2013 (Health Resources, 2015). It is expected that the quality and accessibility of a service should be better with the increase in input. However, this is not the case in the UK health care system making France’s health care system cheap and better.

On the other hand, in France enrollment to an insurance fund is automatic depending on the occupation of a person. Also, due to the friendly insurance cover rates, most of the population is enrolled in supplementary health insurance (Wall, 1996). There is reimbursement under the national hospital insurance with the freedom to navigate among various institutions of care. The reimbursement attracts some French citizens to subscribe in the supplementary insurance covers as it serves as a saving plan too. The fact that there are no gatekeepers restraining access to specialists and hospitals, the health care system in France is far much better than the one in the United Kingdom. In addition, the French indemnity model gives room for direct payments by patients to physicians and other caregivers. The form of payment makes it cheap, available, and friendly to both the literate and the illiterate. The health care systems have an insurance scheme where members are not reimbursed, and they are not left to choose the specialists and hospitals of their choice freely.

Concerning services, perceptions, and health status, the French citizens consult their doctors more often than the United Kingdom (Cylus, & Anderson, 2007). This is from a survey of the existing data from OECD tables. Similarly, despite the fact that France may have few medical equipment, there is no public perception that the equipment is rationed. The use of the equipment for all the population enhances the satisfaction of the French citizens. Positive perceptions coupled with customer satisfaction from various reports help in making the health care system of France more friendly and acceptable world over. The satisfaction further indicates that French is far much above the OECD average on the key indicators of a standard health care system. For instance, life expectancy for both the old, disabled and the newborn remains high above the UK. Life expectancy for people without a disability was 73.1 years in the year 1999 and a healthy life expectancy of 72 years (Health at a Glance 2015, 2015). The high life expectancy shows that the health of the French population is better when compared with the UK.

Contrary to France where the health insurance coverage improves with worsening of a disease, there is an increase in out of pocket costs in the United Kingdom. A patient in France is exempted from additional costs when he or she overstays in the hospital or when one is suffering from a chronic ailment (Armstrong, 2011). Further, an individual in any of the situations automatically qualifies for free supplementary coverage. The exemption makes the health care systems in France a better option as compared to the ones in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, charges for various services within various institutions of care in France are renegotiated annually. The negotiation is guided by a framework of national agreements reached among representatives of the health professions, insurance funds, and the French state. The adhering to the negotiated fees by all physicians ensures the presence of a controlled health care institution. Sanity is prevailed a conducive environment thus for working with all health professionals. All these help in making the health care systems in France better that those in the United Kingdom.

In conclusion, a health care system within any country targets to deliver healthcare amenities to a certain people. Health care systems are also different depending on the political and the economic situations of the countries. Developmental politics in a country ensures that citizens are not exploited and that they thrive in a friendly environment. Countries with stable political environment experience faster growth in their economy. It is on these grounds that the health care systems in France outdo the ones in the United Kingdom. There is customer satisfaction and increased the number of people seeking medical attention in France than in the United Kingdom.





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Boslaugh, S. (2013). Health care systems around the world. New York: SAGE Publications.

Cylus, J., & Anderson, G. (2007). Multinational comparisons of health systems data, 2006. New York: Commonwealth Fund.

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Quaye, R. (2010). Balancing public and private health care systems. Lanham, Md: University     Press of America.

Scaletti, A. (2014). Evaluating investments in health care systems. Cham: Imprint Springer.

Wall, A. (1996). Health care systems in liberal democracies. London: Routledge.

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