NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Socialized Medicine Is Enough to Chase Away British Doctors

August 30, 2012

Since its inception, the National Health Service (NHS) of Britain has been a constant source of pride and joy to Britons. From an outsider's perspective, one has to wonder where this pride is derived from. At a glance, the long waiting times, denial of care, poor facilities and base pay all make the health care system something to avoid. And that is exactly what doctors in Britain are doing, says Investor's Business Daily.

This phenomenon, known as brain drain, is what the British health care system is currently experiencing.

  • More than 8,000 doctors have left Britain since 2008.
  • But the problem is not restricted to Britain, as 10 percent of Canadian-trained doctors practice in the United States.
  • Additionally, a 1964 study on the NHS found that as early as 1950 -- two years after the establishment of the NHS -- doctors were leaving to find work in other countries.

The flow of talented physicians outside of the country is attributed to many factors, but none more than the socialized medicine.

  • Physicians have complained of "extensive goodwill hours" and the long hours they put in.
  • Furthermore, some physicians cite higher pay and shorter hours elsewhere as to why they leave.

This problem is to be expected when there is a system of free health care. When the government creates an unlimited demand, the providers (in this case the doctors) can't keep up and are subsequently overworked and underpaid. And as more doctors leave, the strain on the existing providers will increase, causing further problems with the supply of doctors.

The lesson learned from Britain seems to be lost on the United States, as the Obama administration sought a plan that socialized medicine. If steps aren't taken soon, the United States could find itself in the same situation as Britain.

Source: "Socialized Medicine Is Enough to Chase Away British Doctors," Investor's Business Daily, August 28, 2012.


Browse more articles on Health Issues