Re: Failure by the NHS
Well, you have my sympathies, but I can't fault the NHS at all. In my experience if I want a regular appointment with my GP it takes nearly 2 weeks, but for an emergency I can generally be seen same-day. When I crashed my motorbike they couldn't have been more helpful (though the fracture clinic at the ERI is a zoo, and it's my one complaint I can level at them). When my kids were born 10.5 weeks early, though, I saw the NHS working fantastically. I saw parents dragged through hell in that place by bad luck, but throughout the whole experience the staff were as helpful, professional, friendly, courteous, patient and honest as they could be. If we had a USA-style medical industry, my children would probably be dead now. So would the wee lad Harris, who was born 12 weeks early. So would the cute little triplet girls with the Thai parents who almost filled one of the ICU rooms. And a dozen or so others that I can remember from my stint in there. There's something about watching a baby in an uncubator being rushed out of the ward by a helicopter crew whilst the parents are chasing it with their luggage that makes you pause and think (a) that could have been me, and (b) they're really doing everything they can.
Does the NHS have problems? Yes, it most certainly does. But most of these problems (from where I've seen it, and from the people I've spoken to) have been due to management incompetence at some level or another. The people in the trenches trying to save lives and cure sick people work fucking hard and deserve a lot of respect.
I'd rather have a safety net for everyone that faily the unlucky few (and I do know people who've been failed too), than the patchwork that the USA has.