Health care around the world is very different; every country that you go to so it can be confusing when it comes to what to expect. To be on the safe side, you should renew an ehic card, but if you’ve already got one, then you can jump straight into booking a holiday abroad. If you’re looking to travel but are curious of the health care systems globally, to give you peace of mind, then look no further. Here, we’re taking a closer look at health care systems across the globe.

The UK

To start we will dive straight in at the deep end and look at our beloved NHS and see the pros and cons to our service.

The first thing to take note of when comparing health care systems is whether or not upfront payments must be paid to your local GP or even when visiting a hospital. Here in the UK we are not required to pay any fees upfront which really does help especially those who don’t earn a sustainable amount of income, our health care service is easily accessible to those of all income groups. The only negative when looking at free health care is the time it would take to book an appointment with the likes of your local GP.

One statistic to take into account is the number of doctor we have per 1000 people within the UK. This is a staggering 3 in 1000 people which is why you can see so much tension on our health care systems, more doctors and nurses are needed to keep up with the demand. As of 2017 the UK is calculated to spend on average a mind blowing £124 billion and is expected to rise to £127 billion over the upcoming few years.

To conclude the Health service here in the UK is overall quite good although there is room for improvement, as there is a total of 95% of hospital beds occupied and there is a chance that when the weather gets harsher the hospitals will get busier and it could lead to overcrowding.

The US

When you think of the United States you would think that their health care would be one of the best if not the best in the world, however, this isn’t quite as it seems. In the US you are required to pay upfront for the medical treatment you are requiring, from visiting your GP to having to call for an ambulance, this can cause any issue for those with low income.

In 2010 Obama tried to increase the number of people who could access and afford health care, this is when he implemented Obamacare. Obamacare was created to help increase the number of people who are insured by health services, because if you’re using any health care service no matter how important or necessary it could potentially cost extraordinary amounts and for those who cannot afford to insure themselves this would put them further back.

In comparison to other MEDC’s (More Economically Developed Countries) such as the UK, Germany, France and 7 other countries the US health care system ranked poorly in last place. However, the quality of care the US provides put them 5th out of 11. On the other hand the health of citizens, efficiency of their service and their equity is what lets them down and settles them in 11th.

The US health service has a lot of holes when you look into things further and they have a lot of work to be doing to perfect it, however they can still provide adequate health care and you will always be in safe hands if you find yourself needing their service.


Spain offers both private and public health care systems so the choice is yours. If you have immigrated to Spain because of work, then you are likely to pay tax that goes toward something known as Spanish social security. In return, you and your family can receive free health care. However, if you find yourself not under the bracket of a pensioner, employed, or a resident of Spain then you are not entitled to free health care as the Spanish social security does not cover you. If you are visiting Spain and are classed as an undocumented foreigner then you are only entitled to emergency health care.

Spain has a great ratio of doctors to their population – for every 1000 residents they can offer 4 doctors, which is impressive compared to the numbers of other countries. It’s set up to benefit anyone who wishes to visit the country and they go beyond what’s necessary to ensure everyone receives health care without the long list of debts. The number of doctors as well is very beneficial to the nation’s health care and their constantly growing private health care will only expand that.


Last but not least is China. China is the result of a nation that is trying to improve their health care service. The Chinese citizens have been expected to pay a small amount for their health care since the late 70’s due to trying to boost the countries economics. Although the residents of china are expected to pay for their health care it is a very low rate especially in comparison to those like the US. For example if you went to your local hospital it would cost you 2 yuan which is roughly 20p and for that price you can’t really complain, furthermore if you were to spend a night within the hospital that would cost you 100 yuan which is roughly £11.

Although the price on average is cheap you can expect to find the services of ambulances far more expensive than being at the hospital, and doctors that aren’t paid handsomely will charge extra for prescriptions so the price of certain aspects can fluctuate.

Private health care can mainly be found in the areas of larger cities as opposed to smaller rural locations, if you use private health care you can expect to pay twice the rate of public health care. Also found in the larger cities such as Beijing in public hospitals are international wings which allow staff that speaking foreign languages to treat patients who may have immigrated or are simply visiting?

In conclusion Chinese health care is still on its way up and there are improvements to be made, however they do cater for those who don’t have a great income and those visiting the country from abroad.

As you can see there is great variety just from these 4 nations and the way in which they tackle health care to benefit not only the public but by benefiting the country’s economic situations. There is still an ongoing debate on what is better, private or public health care and if you should have to pay for every aspect of the health care service. Within Europe you can expect to find stable and promising health care systems and you will always be in good hands. Health care systems must stay maintained and governments should encourage those of younger generations to look after this sector as they give a lot back to every community.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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