"The NHS is the only health system in the industrialised world where wealth does not determine access to care – providing the most widely accessible treatments at low cost among rich nations, a key study has found.
The survey, by US health thinktank the Commonwealth Fund, showed that while one-third of American adults "went without recommended care, did not see a doctor when sick, or failed to fill prescriptions because of costs", this figure was only 6% in the UK and 5% in Holland.
In all countries except Britain, wealth largely determined access to health, with patients with incomes below the national average more likely to report trouble with medical bills and problems with getting care because of cost.
The survey, of 19,700 patients in 11 nations, found "substantial differences" among countries on access to care when sick, access after hours, and waiting times for specialised care.
About 70% of British patients reported same- or next-day access to doctors when sick, less than the 93% of Swiss adults reporting rapid access. In contrast, however, only 57% of adults in Sweden and the US, and less than half in Canada and Norway, were seen this quickly.
The NHS was also extremely cost-effective, with spending on health per person almost the lowest in the survey. A person in the UK paid $1,500 less than a person in Switzerland, $600 less than a German and less than half the $7,538 paid by every American for healthcare."