Healthcare 113

I have a post on the political class’s frenetic attempts to criminalise dissent nearly finished, which I hope will be up tonight.

But as a lifelong supporter of the NHS, I wanted to share with you this.

I went to a village community health centre in Greece, feeling pretty rotten. I had to wait outside for the results of a covid test. Once cleared I was in and saw the doctor immediately, the Greek equivalent of a GP. He did the routine checks then took an ECG, and then took an X ray – none of this with an appointment and with no need to go off to a hospital. After an hour I was out again, with a prescription for four different drugs including antibiotics, a diagnosis of bronchitis and sinusitis, and firm orders to go to bed (which I did).

In the NHS I would have had to plead for a receptionist at all for an appointment to see a GP, and would have had to go to a hospital for the X-Ray and ECG. Then they would have probably decided to wait a week before giving antibiotics.

The Greek system was simply massively, massively a faster, more efficient and better experience. It was entirely free, except for 38 euros for the four prescriptions.

That’s it.


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113 thoughts on “Healthcare

1 2
  • Ian Stevenson

    we have lost sight of what is valuable – well, not most us: just those with power.
    Hope you feel better soon, Craig.

  • Peter

    “The Greek system was simply massively, massively a faster, more efficient and better experience. It was entirely free, except for 38 euros for the four prescriptions.”

    And that after the EU’s neoliberal nuclear assault on Greek public services and society following the Greek debt crisis 2010-16.

    In the meantime our threadbare NHS under Tory misrule continues its steep decline. So what exactly are the Tories intending for the NHS when they carry out Hunt’s planned abolition of National Insurance? Answer – an American type healthcare system of course.

    Are “Labour” any better? When asked on Newsnight (Wednesday 6th) if there was anything in Hunt’s budget that Labour opposed, Pat McFadden, after initially deflecting, effectively replied … “no”.

    New political party urgently required.

    Good look to Leanne Mohamad challenging Labour’s NHS privateer Wes Streeting in his North Ilford seat at the general election.

    Pat McFadden on Newsnight, watch from 19:50 –

  • TS

    Your NHS is being strangled into non-functionality so that the only solution is going to be to privatize it, and you will get to live under a for-profit health care system like the U.S.

    • Aden

      Or we end up with a system like the Dutch or the Swiss. Number 1 and 2 in the league tables.

      The NHS doesn’t even make the premier league.

      • terence callachan

        No, UK had a system like the dutch and the swiss, until the Conservative party privatised anything and everything. Their privatisation has reduced out great national services to disasters: NHS, British Rail, BT, Royal Mail, Council Housing, Local Authority services, Water and Sewerage services, Electricity and Gas services, BBC, Bus services, and on and on I could go. All have been devasted and brought to ruination by the Conservative policy of privatisation, every one of these services now providing a few individuals with millions of pounds in profit, shareholder pay-outs prioritised over the actual service and prioritised over staff welfare and safety. Just today we see Thames Water refusing to contribute to a clean-up of the rivers in England that they have been pouring raw sewage into for years.
        Privatisation of essential services is corrupt, unprofitable for society, and an abject failure.

        • Bayard

          Anyone who thinks that British Rail was better than the railways of today, is either too young to remember British Rail or has forgotten how bad it was. Sure, travel was cheaper then, but not much, but BR was unreliable and unpunctual and, if things did go wrong, which happened with depressing frequency, it was almost impossible to find out any alternative course of action to just waiting and hoping for the best. Hardly a year went by without a line being closed or services being reduced and the organisation became ever more bureaucratic whilst employing fewer and fewer staff at the sharp end.

          • Northern

            Spoken with all the confidence of someone who hasn’t used a train since the BR days. And dont even get me started on bus services.

            Public transport outside London is an expensive and time consuming joke to the point that literally any western european nation you care to think of puts us to shame. Even the former soviet states and their inherited mass transit systems are ahead of us several decades later!

            I fail to see any realistic difference in BR and the private franchises we have today beyond the fact a small number of people get to trouser a few billion quid per year under the private model. Trains are still over 40 years old, dirty, cancelled etc – so what benefit is PFI delivering here exactly?

          • Cornudet

            BR largely gave way to Virgin rail which was shockingly expensive and shockingly unreliable. In the last couple of years the Virgin franchise has overwhelmingly been handed to Aviva, who have achieved the seemingly impossible by making the Virgin services seem gilt edged and reasonably priced.

          • RogerDodger

            Funny, since that is, to a word, a very precise description of my exprience of the current state of UK rail travel, as someone who does it a lot but is too young to remember British Rail. My local station isn’t even staffed anymore.

          • Bayard

            “Spoken with all the confidence of someone who hasn’t used a train since the BR days.”

            Spoken with all the confidence of someone who hasn’t a clue. I have regularly travelled by train all my life, both in BR days and since and can easily compare BR with what is available now.

            It is also a very common fallacy to deduce from “the fact a small number of people get to trouser a few billion quid per year under the private model” that the service must be worse than it was under public ownership. I didn’t say that travel was cheaper either for the passenger or for the state, that is a totally different subject.

          • JohnA

            In BR days, when you had to make a connection at a different station and the train was slightly late, the connecting train would be held to the benefit of those connecting passengers. Now, in my experience in my region of trains operated by Southern and Southeastern Rail on the same tracks, there is never any question of holding up a connecting train, especially if run by a different operator.

      • Hansheini Schwendener


        I suspect you have no idea how much the Swiss working man or woman is obliged to fork out every month to both the state and a private provider for health care?

        Do you know anything about the Swiss social security and health model?

        • Townsman

          Health care costs a lot of money. The NHS isn’t “free”, it’s just funded in a roundabout way, so that almost nobody is aware of what it really costs.
          I think the Swiss system is excellent (having lived there). It is entirely private, but everyone has health insurance, which is intelligently regulated. People too poor to afford the insurance get a subsidy from the government to pay for it. The cost of health care is apparent to all.

  • Aden

    When commenting on the NHS, its a disaster. 20,000 killed a year from avoidable mistakes. I bet you don’t believe me, because you’ve got that NHS religion.

    20,000 a year killed by “avoidable mistakes”
    Preventable deaths due to problems in care in English acute hospitals: a retrospective case record review study – BMJ

    Avoidability of hospital deaths and association with hospital-wide mortality ratios: retrospective case record review and regression analysis
    BMJ 2015;351:h3239

    Around one in 20 (6%) of patients are affected by preventable harm in medical care, of which around 12% causes permanent disability or death, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

    There’s you go, peer reviewed.

    The legal term for avoidable death is manslaughter.

    • Clark

      For the rate of preventable harm to be informative about the NHS, the NHS must be compared with other health systems.

      People seek medical attention when they are ill, and it is to be expected that with perfect hindsight some treatments are seen to be suboptimal or even harmful. So the 1 in 138 patients who die or are permanently disabled must be viewed in the context of however many patients’ lives were saved or improved by treatment; more people may have suffered more harm had there been no treatment, and thus no errors.

    • SA

      Aden could you check this reference please as it suggests that this article is from 2015 and not recent. Even so this problem is not confined to the NHS but in many other countries including the US and Canada.

    • Melrose

      Don’t you forget.
      The UK isn’t part of Europe any longer, assuming it ever was. Bon appétit.
      Regarding cost of healthcare, expenses vs GDP isn’t a valid benchmark. The real issue is how much is out of pocket and how much is covered by the nation’s budget.
      What Craig Murray forgot to mention is that he wouldn’t have had to pay 38€ had he been a Greek or EU citizen!
      Meanwhile, treating bronchitis with antibiotics isn’t usually the best prescription. As most of us should know…

      • SA

        “Meanwhile, treating bronchitis with antibiotics isn’t usually the best prescription. As most of us should know…”
        As most of us also know it is unwise to make a diagnosis and prescription decisions based on incomplete information in a blog. If in doubt dial 111.

      • Townsman

        The UK isn’t part of Europe any longer

        You’re confused. Of course the UK is part of Europe. It just isn’t a member of the European Union.
        ‘Europe’ is a geographical entity; the European Union is a political entity.

  • Baron

    You should get better, Mr. Murray, that’s your top priority.

    The story is a charming example of how other countries care about the health of their burghers, unquestionably better than Britain, a country in which the inertia of a never ending pro-NHS agitprop has maintained the totally erroneous perception of it as the pride of the nation and the envy of the world.

  • Fazal Majid

    Keep in mind the UK NHS is designed first and foremost to be cheap. A full 20–30% less to run than the French or German systems as share of GDP. There are consequences to corner-cutting.

    • Urban Fox

      Massive misallocation of resources doesn’t help either. There’s also much more in the way of grift & corruption, than corner cutting.

      That’s why the global corruption perception index is an utter joke, like a lot of “statistics agencies”.

    • Ian Stevenson

      the French and German systems are around 11-12% of GDP. The UK around 10%.
      However, the insurance-based models have additional costs (which are creeping into the NHS) is recording, billing and chasing up payments.
      We all know the NHS needs to be better co-ordinated with other measures such as less sugar and fat in food. The Secretary of State for Health is married to a senior person in the sugar industry. This might – don’t want to accuse her – be a conflict of interest. We need more opportunity for physical activities and management which is supportive, not anxiety-inducing target driven. Good housing and security of tenure helps mental health. But joined-up thinking is difficult in a market economy.
      Sadly Labour seem to swallowed the propaganda.

      • Tom Welsh

        Unfortunately there are still far too many wrong beliefs. Reducing sugar intake is harmless at worst, and probably conducive to better health if – and only if – the calories are replaced by nourishing foods.

        It is impossible to be healthy for long without eating enough animal fat. The only food that is known to supply all human needs indefinitely is fresh fatty meat (including fish and fowl). Also good are eggs and dairy. Note that all of those contain a lot of animal fat – which is also the only nutrient that cannot do any harm to a human being (unless they drown in it).

        • Lapsed Agnostic

          Marshall is correct, Tom: the only essential fatty acids for humans are linoleic acid (an omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3). Both can be obtained from plant-based sources. A 4/5:1 ratio is ideal – flaxseed is probably the best source of the latter:

          Eating a diet composed of only fatty meat, like Jordan Peterson and his daughter seemingly do these days, will not provide sufficient amounts of fibre or of many essential nutrients. It will also supply large amounts of complete protein, which isn’t great for longevity, probably largely due to the effect of the amino acid methionine on mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR):

          I’ve been vegetarian for more than 20 years and almost vegan for over ten. Even though I’m almost 10 years older than Anne Bancroft was in The Graduate, in recent years I have been known to pull twenty-somethings. I also smoke cigarettes (though only 5-a-day now) and used to take a fair amount of drugs – legal and otherwise. (Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing* – like that Belle de Jour, I’m a ****ing scientist.)

          * See also: ‘If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research.’ – A. Einstein

          • Calgacus

            Tom went overboard, but not far enough on one thing. Sugar (and other highly refined carbohydrates) are the most dangerous foods for any population the world over. Outside of calories for preventing starvation, and a mix of carbohydrates and fat for infants (as in breast milk) eliminating them entirely from all diets, replaced by anything else, or nothing, would improve the health of everyone on the planet. Human metabolism is not built for the massive glucose/fructose etc influx they have provided in the last couple centuries in Europe/USA, even more recently elsewhere. It causes epidemic levels of metabolic syndrome, obesity, fatty liver, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

            Fatty meat is neither an absolute necessity for health, but nor is it true that an all-fatty-meat diet lacks essential nutrients. Meat will of course not provide fibre, but fibre is not even a nutrient, let alone an essential nutrient. There is a fantastic amount of misinformation and outright lunacy concerning diet. The craziness of some national authorities on fibre, is demonstrated by their assertions that fibre is both non-digestible carbohydrate (hence not a nutrient) but also magically an essential nutrient!

            The most nutritious food group for human beings is (red) meat. The most nutritious single foods are liver, eggs and sardines and other fatty fish. That is objective fact based on the levels of vitamins and other essential nutrients such foods provide. Animal fat is not an absolute necessity, but fats tend to be animal foods and natural fats tend to be metabolically safer than carbohydrates, mainly from plants.

            Complete protein is a necessity and highly desirable. Animal protein is complete, plant not. So one has to be much more careful designing a vegetarian diet to get the required amino acids from various vegetables. While some communities have been entirely carnivorous for thousands, even tens of thousands of years, no human community in history whatsoever has ever been vegan, because it is not compatible with human nutritional needs. The number of ex-vegetarians far exceed vegetarians. Humans and prehumans have been partly carnivorous for around 2 million years or longer. Many or most evolutionary biologists think this enabled the species to occupy a niche of increased brain size and intelligence. Almost all vegans – a very novel idea, only arising in the 20th century, need vitamin supplementation, particularly B12. Veganism is not a natural diet, but a technologically enabled one.

            The major nutritional disputes of the 20th century were often roughly on national lines. The British John Yudkin, Thomas Lattimore (Peter) Cleave and earlier the Germans were completely right. While the Americans, Ancel Keys foremost had often preposterous ideas (demonizing (saturated) fat, salt, cholesterol, (red) meat etc) that have been shown to be wrong and often the opposite of the truth. But the crackpots, like Keys and his successor Walter Willett, longtime dean of Harvard School of Public Health – a fanatic vegetarian and poor scientist, but superlatively smooth communicator, still dominate the scene worldwide. The national (and international) recommendations like the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been moving in the right direction, but at a glacial pace, lagging far beyond scientific research, and still damage the health of hundreds of millions, if not billions of people.

            To mention the NHS – this American would say it once was the envy of the world, a model and by far the most efficient health service in the world. Considering how bad the Standard UK (SUK) diet was/is – it had to be, for Britons to be as healthy as they once were. 🙂 The only thing wrong with the 20th century NHS was that it was too efficient, it could have yielded even better health – and a more prosperous UK economy – if more government money had been spent on it.

          • Tom Welsh

            Thanks, Calgacus, for a much more complete and detailed statement of the facts than I offered.

            I should add that vegetable and seed oils are at least as dangerous as refined carbs, if not more so. Indeed, all grains are seeds.

            It’s not widely enough known that, until the 20th century, Americans ate far more red meat and far fewer fruits and vegetables than Europeans. Visitors from Europe were amazed that even labourers ate meat – in plentiful amounts – every day, and often two or three times a day.

            In contrast, salad was avoided by most people who could afford better. Apart from its wretched lack of nutrients, it was understood to be the most common cause of food poisoning.

          • Lapsed Agnostic

            Thanks for your reply Calcagus. Sugar (be it sucrose or fructose) certainly isn’t the most dangerous food, despite what people tell you. It’s become the new saturated fat and, unbelievably, some people even think it’s worse for you than cocaine – injecting 250 milligrams a day of sugar into their left femoral vein for five years and 250 mg of cocaine into their right one should disabuse them of this notion, though I wouldn’t recommend it. Many people throughout history have lived largely on potatoes, e.g. in Ireland in the decades before the famine. Most of them will have died early largely due to malnutrition, not metabolic disease, obesity or type 2 diabetes, despite potato starch having a significantly higher glycemic index than sucrose.

            An all-fatty meat diet lacks sufficient amounts of essential nutrients for optimal health, but that isn’t the main problem with it. The main issue is that it delivers too much protein – and in particular, the amino acid methionine, which leads to early death (see what happened to the mice in the reference above). This is the main reason why vegetarians (and vegans) in the West live on average 6-7 years longer than meat-eaters. Societies that consume diets entirely based on animal products (or that used to) such as the Canadian Inuit, have evolved for thousands of years out of necessity to be able to do this – but even so, before modern times, I doubt whether many of them lived much beyond 60. From the neolithic onwards, European societies (and many others) evolved mainly to eat grains.

            The only nutrient that can’t necessarily be provided in sufficient quantities by a vegan diet is vitamin B12 – though some vegans appear to be able to obtain enough from the tiny amounts in plants without taking supplements, which tends to suggest it’s an issue with the transporters in the intestines. The founder of The Vegan Society, Donald Watson, became a vegetarian at the age of 13 and a vegan at 34. He lived to the grand old age of 95. Could you point me to someone who has lived to that age eating exclusively an all-meat diet for 60 years? I’ll wait.

            Several plant foods contain complete protein: soy, oats, quinoa, chia, potatoes, to name but five – but significantly less of it than is in meat. Americans eat on average 50% more meat than Brits. They also die on average three years earlier, despite the US spending nearly three times as much per person on healthcare than the UK, and going to extraordinary lengths to keep people alive in the name of profit: over a third of elderly Americans spend their final months on life support. By contrast, the NHS can’t wait to get rid of old people as they’re a drain on resources (see inter alia the still-yet-to-see-the-inside-of-a-prison-cell Dr Jane Barton for example).

    • Tom Welsh

      It’s probably relevant to recall that the NHS started in 1948, when Britain was groaning under the lash of austerity which continued until the mid-1950s. That, in turn, was because the Americans never forgave any debts including those incurred in fighting both world wars.

      • Urban Fox

        I think Britain actually defaulted on its WW1 debts. A fact that gets memory-holed in the historical narrative, about the interwar period today.

        Also in the 40’s & 50’s, the country was simply much more efficiently & competently governed.

        Most current problems of the UK, are in large measure due to the degraded state of it’s leadership cadres.

        The fact that the country gave up it’s sovereignty is in no small part responsible for this. Which is why Brexit was simply a loud distracting farce.

        The true root cause. Is that the UK is no more than a vassal state to the USA, and has been for generations.

          • Urban Fox

            No, but the UK could’ve been an independent country not a vassal.

            I never even mentioned the empire. Besides the Americans had already taken over those markets, part of FDR’s for supporting Churchill.

          • NickB

            You didn’t mention it but that’s what we were in the 40s and 50s, which you harked back to; the world’s biggest imperial power, albeit depleted economically after WW2. Not sure of the relevance or accuracy of what you say about the US. Britain still ruled an awful lot of colonies in the 1940s – and 50s. It was forced to abandon them based on what I have read partly because of the way the US manipulated the postwar distribution of economic power. If so I’m not sure what room there was for it not to be a “vassal state”, though I would have preferred it not to pretend to be something on the world stage based only on its former imperial status.

        • Tom Welsh

          It is true that Britain defaulted on over $4 billion of debt owed to the USA. Arguably, that money was vital to allow even the very inadequate measure of rearmament carried out by 1939, without which the country might well have been successfully invaded and conquered.

          What I wrote was: “…the Americans never forgave any debts including those incurred in fighting both world wars”.

          That is true; otherwise there would not have been a default. Many British people believed that forgiving the $4 billion would have been the very least the USA could have done to make up for the three years during which it left Britain, France, and Italy (and initially Russia) to fight against the Central Powers.

          Americans thought otherwise.

      • Pears Morgaine

        In 1948 the US gifted the UK £3.3 billion (equivalent to £98 billion today) under the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe. The UK got more money from the Marshall Plan than any other nation in Europe but whereas other countries used it to re-build and modernise their industries the British Government blew most of their money trying to hang on to what was left of the Empire.

        • Urban Fox

          A paltry sum compared to what they’d already taken.

          Granted with ulterior motives, there was absolutely no “gift” involved.

          The UK government did piss quite a bit of it away though. No doubt.

        • leaf

          I think you may want to review Michael Hudson’s “Super Imperialism” to see what conditions were provided to the UK for its loans before, during and after WW2.

          • Roy

            Marshall Aid was not a loan. You’re confusing it with the immediate post-war loan negotiated by Keynes.

            @ Urban Fox : Furthermore, the US’s motives in granting Marshall Aid are irrelevant to the main points made here by other commentators.

        • Bayard

          “the British Government blew most of their money trying to hang on to what was left of the Empire.”

          That would probably because “hanging on to the remains of the Empire” (then) and “opposing Russia” (now) are Important Matters to the British Government, much less important than rebuilding our shattered infrastructure or having a decent health service.

        • Tom Welsh

          The purpose of the Marshall Plan was simply to make sure that US industry had enough markets to sell its products into.

          It had absolutely no altruistic motive.

      • glenn_nl

        Yes, it was, as a matter of fact. Much better than it was in 1997, and vastly better than it is now.

        Took some time to reverse the damage the last lot of wretched Tories did to it, of couse.

        • Tom Welsh

          That is certainly one of the great advantages (to some) of our cunning system of periodic elections. Any government can (and usually does) blame all bad news on the preceding government.

  • Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett


    Seems that you are on the rebound.

    Pleased to know and all the best for continuing good health.

  • El Dee

    Jeremy Hunt has stated his wish, publicly, to do away with National Insurance. This is the first public statement by a chancellor on this (AFAIK) since Oliver Letwin came up with the idea at the Policy Unit.

    It would be replaced (Letwin) by an ‘Earnings Tax’. Note NOT an Income Tax. It would be considerably lower than the amount of the current Income Tax and National Insurance ensuring wide spread support. But it’s designed to break the link with the NHS and would lead to a separate payment for anything except emergency treatment. It’s thought that preferred providers would be allocated funds.

    I doubt that they will get to implement this as Labour are certain to win. But how long they remain out of office is up to Labour and given their right wing policies I can’t see them going beyond two terms..

    • Dom

      Both Starmer and his health secretary Streeting have been paid to further privatise the NHS, if not hand it over completely to big US insurers. The bribes were openly declared and have been in the parliamentary record of members’ interests for over two years now. Just never reported by the mainstream British media, interestingly enough.

    • Bayard

      There is no link between NI and the NHS, except a historical one. NI is simply a second tax on labour and the receipts go into the general pot. It’s probably more honest to call it something else.

      • Squeeth

        NI was a way of making a working-class health system function with (mainly) working-class money, it’s a subsidy for high earners. I suppose that nuLiarbour would quite like to increase the subsidy.

        • Bayard

          “NI was a way of making a working-class health system function with (mainly) working-class money,”

          “was” is the operative word. It was also a way of selling greater taxation of labour to those who would be paying the extra taxes. Now, the receipts could be spent on anything the government decide to blow them on.

        • Tom Welsh

          Very humorous! 😎

          I can see Sir Humphrey chuckling.

          The Treasury does not care for “ringfencing” (hypothecation). They regard all money as theirs, and all decisions about how to use it.

          • Jimmy


            Get up to speed, Tom. Ring-fencing and hypothecation are two entirely different concepts.

        • Bayard

          “In theory at least….”
          The difference between practice and theory is usually much greater in practice than it is in theory. NI hasn’t been ring fenced for decades, if it was ever.

  • Paul Garrud

    There are, of course, many differences in health services and resources between the UK and Greece. One is that Greece spends twice as much (2.5%) of their GDP on health as the UK (1.2%). What cannot be doubted, though, is that government funding of the NHS in England is completely inadequate to meet the demand.

  • Giacomo Poma

    I live in Thai, the country of my wife. Last December I fad the same experience there with a sciatic. Marvelous support, immediate response, very low price. Later back to Italy, my home country: same bureaucratic disaster. Why can we run healthcare anymore in the western world. Maybe because we prefer to give the money to Ukrainians to kill Russians.

    Keep spirit, I have no money to give to you but I admire what you do.

    Giacomo Poma

  • NickB

    Used to live in Italy, same experience. And visiting Spain 4 years ago, same experience. To be fair the NHS was great when I was growing up, until about the mid 1980s probably. Since then it has been ground into the dirt, privatised and corrupted. I still trust individuals working in it, it’s not their fault, but I don;t trust the system and whenever I have to engage with it, it’s a nightmare.

  • Rosemary MacKenzie

    I’m really pleased you chose a country with a decent health care system, and that you are feeling better and it cost you $58. In Canada, our health care system has been so hollowed out that HUGE numbers of people don’t even have a family doctor or nurse practitioner. Historically, we don’t even have universal dental care or pharmacare, but that I hope is beginning to change? The liberal government is a minority government and is staying in power because it has an agreement with the NDPs ( a sort of centre left party). The agreement is founded on certain things the government must supply – such as anti-scab legislation, dental care, and universal pharmacare. I should get free dental care thankfully, because my income is under (well under) $70 thousand – I was quoted a root canal for $1200. The pharmacare bill has been enacted and is starting off by covering diabetic costs, and contraceptive costs with more to follow. Sadly, we are due an election next year and it looks as if the far right conservatives will have a majority and may rabbit on about deficits. I don’t understand people who are so enamoured with Pierre Polievre and hate Justin Trudeau and cannot see beyond individuals and look at policies. For example, a big example, the only party supporting ceasefire in Gaza is the NDP. The conservatives are zionists to the core – I have stored away in my email simply disgusting, ill informed diatribes supporting Israel and the zionists from my conservative MP, Rick Perkins. This is a party which will probably seal our fate for the next four years if they get in – pro Israel, pro Ukraine nazis, nato, austerity etc. There is a big fishing operation going on at the moment looking at foreign interference in government, etc ie China, Russia, Iran when the true interference is zionist and multinationals.

    I find it fascinating that we in the “west” think we are so advanced that our health care systems are much better than “poorer” countries and that we should be grateful. I was helping set up a town hall with regards to the pharmacare issue last fall, and I was wandering around a farmers market talking to people and handing out brochures. A few were from other countries, Brazil, Turkey, and I asked about their pharmacare coverage. Oh yes, they have pharmacare in various ways eg drugs heavily subsidized by the government and so on. In Canada, we have the third highest drug costs in the world – after the US and Switzerland. The Feds could get in there and beat down drug costs with universal pharmacare – there are all sorts of advantages and cost savings – Australia’s drug costs are around 29% lower than ours because they have pharmacare!

    Hope you took a supply of medication with you to Switzerland, Craig. Their drug costs are higher than those of Greece.

  • Stevie Boy

    The NHS has been under attack since it conception, specifically by the Tories and the BMA. It’s destruction and associated privatisation has continued steadily for 75 years; However, over the last 14 years we’ve had an acceleration of that plan by the tories with an exponential increase in the destruction thanks to the plandemic. The main architects of the NHS’s destruction have been Jeremy Hunt, David Cameron, George Osborne and Simon Stevens with an honoury mention to Tony Blair. Boris Johnson promised, in the tory manifesto, 40 new hospitals and 40,000 new nurses. Where are they ? With immigration out of control and delivering the equivalent bodies for a city the size of Birmingham every year, where is the money and facilities to cope with that ?
    The NHS cannot survive in its current state, no amount of money can save it or make ir more efficient. It’s already the case if you want/need timely and efficient care you will have to pay, the basic service is overstretched and abysmal. There is no plan other than 100% privatisation. MPs and senior NHS staff are provided with private healthcare, so are not impacted. The tories brought this about but Labour, and the NHS, are 100% onboard with their plan, so a change of government will change nothing.
    Like that other bastard birth from 1948, only complete destruction and rebuild can solve the problem.
    Don’t get sick, don’t get old, don’t get poor because if you do, the NHS will finish you off.

    • Pyewacket

      Well said Stevie, personally I believe Bliar & Broon deserve more than an honour mention as the financial jiggery poker of PFI have saddled the NHS with a huge disproportionate amount of debt and opened commercial opportunities for the likes of WH Smiths, Costa coffee and the providers of car parking space. Also, not failing to mention the very well paid managers whom ensure that the requisite number of 🌈 have been met.

    • Nota Tory Fanboy

      In the NHS, you’re more likely to be served by someone born abroad than you are to have “your place in the queue” moved back by someone born abroad.

  • Highlander

    May I be so bold as to point out the election of Tory government after Tory government by English voters has allowed MI5 to destroy the Labour Party. One might remember the attempted Co-op d’etat, sponsored by Winston Churchill Jr MP along with other Tory MPs and of course those military officers later cashiered in 1974-75. When the Labour Party is elected along with their friends of Israel, the Labour Party within two years will sell off the NHS to British Aerospace, American venture Capitalists and those parasites and oligarchs. Everything is set, from only one person, i.e. the health secretary with a signature can sell the NHS, that’s why it has three tiers of management.
    So those poor Palestinians fate in Gaza those men, women and children dying, their fate will be shortly be yours. And thoroughly deserved. Reap what you sow!

    • Melrose

      Only one must remain. There friends are hour foes.
      The whole world is about to no the fate of Great Britain, tories and labours included.

    • Squeeth

      You can’t blame election results on the public when the system is FPTP, this is a fascist system which guarantees minority rule. If you vote you are election rigging.

  • Andrew Carter

    Yes, but did the Greek Doctor use appropriate pronouns? Did you fill out the DEI questionnaire honestly? And surely you only got this level of service because you were deemed to be a migrant in Greece?

    Frankly I think you should be ashamed of yourself – firstly for using your White Privilege to jump the queue, but mostly for being a White Male in the first place.

    (I’m kidding but its telling that I have to append this footnote, innit)

  • Tatyana

    Get well soon, Mr Murray!
    Bronchitis is a disgusting disease, the suffocating cough in the later stages is especially unpleasant. I’d like to share one more good tip that really helped me – to prevent stagnation it makes sense to sometimes lie face down on the bed, with your upper body hanging over the edge, and cough in this position. Clears the airways truly good. Also try to move and stretch whenever possible.
    And also, I don’t know if the doctor advised you to use a nebulizer to deliver medications. One good device, it really saved me at one time.

    • Tatyana

      I remembered something else important – sometimes there are sensations in the chest similar to heartburn, as if I ate something sour and my stomach reacted badly. These are actually spasms in the bronchi. A nebulizer with Berodual helps here.
      Please do pay extra attention to your health, Mr Murray. We need you.

  • Republicofscotland

    Good to see that you are getting the treatment you need promptly. Look after yourself.

    Scots like the folk in the rest of the UK need to fight hard to keep the NHS alive, if not I can see a kind of pre-1948 situation cropping up where only folk with the means will receive proper medical care.

    As Noam Chomsky once said, if you want to get rid of a public funded body first you need to defund it, the people will cry out for something to replace it, that’s where privatisation comes in.

    This is another one of a million good reason as to why Scotland needs to dissolve the union as spending on England’s NHS is linked to Scotland’s spending on its NHS.

    • Melrose

      Medical airlift may be a clever way to avoid a few formalities on the way back home. A sympathizing Greek ‘doctor’, the local equivalent of a GP in other lands, may probably prescribe such transportation for another €38, whatever this is in Sterling.
      After all, if they tell you to go to bed for a bronchitis, better known as ‘the flu’ or a common cold, what can they possibly say when the diagnosis is cancer?
      I think I mentioned before that Ouzo is the best remedy outside of Scotland.

  • Mr Mark Cutts

    Interesting debate and I agree with the view that the NHS is like a religion.

    The point I would make about the Post War religion is that the NHS and Welfare State was not built due to the largesse of the capitalists. It was cheapish payment to prevent Communism/Socialism taking hold in the UK-France-Germany etc. and it has worked beautifully until the implementation of Neo-liberal economics across the world.

    There is only so much money that you can hand to greedy capitalists ( particularly Finance Capitalists) out of GDP growth before the whole Welfare/Social State edifice comes tumbling down.

    Both major party’s have been in on this game – from PFI to PPE and so on in the UK and here we are. It is no accident that Hunt (who wrote a book on Privatising the Health Service a few years ago) wants to get rid of National Insurance Contributions. The reason is that the Tories and some Labour centre rightists think that the better off should pay Premiums for private medicine and the poorer elements should be left with a so called ‘Safety Net’ health Service.

    I suspect in principle they would like to do the same for Sick-Pay/Unemployment payments and the big one – Private Retirement Pensions.

    Now, the thing is for the people who can afford to pay for the above (say similar to the US model if you are in decent employment) is that the payers of the premiums will ask “Why should I pay NI contributions and an Insurance Premium?” Their employers would ask the same. If the name of the game is to supply the Finance capitalists with customers then the moves make sense (to the pro capitalists at least) but where does that leave the masses of people who can’t afford to pay for Private Insurance?It will leave them with a ‘Safety Net’ that is on the floor and the Health Service will get worse – not better.

    The argument will be that like Mrs Thatcher, those who can afford it will get out of the way (like she was doing the poor a favour – as if) and that will free up services and shorten the queue. The fact is and it pertains to my third sentence. The Welfare/Social State was a grudging post WW2 concession to the masses and seventy eight years on it is still being dismantled bit by bit.

    The Media don’t notice because the vast majority of the leading media people have access to private medicine so they know absolutely nothing about the NHS. Many politicians too.

    The truth is – if anyone from any party views the Health Service (the NHS does not exist – except for advertising purpose only) as ‘cost’
    and not an ‘investment’ then it is doomed to fail.

    It should be re-nationalised and the Regional and Local Health Authority Boards should be brought back to scrutinise and plan the needs of their areas. In fact all the ‘Essential Services ‘ should be renationalised similarly. Why? Because they are ‘ Essential ‘ for looking after the lives and welfare of your people. That supposedly is the outcome of the Democratic process – isn’t it?

    That was the theory – but we are witnessing the downfall of Democracy across the Western World and beyond.

    • Stevie Boy

      Of course, in this election year an interesting question to ask candidates is : ‘do you use the NHS or have private medical care’. Amongst the thousands of other questions … (Why Is This Lying Bastard Lying to Me?)

      • Mr Mark Cutts

        That would be a fair question of the politicians and the presenters who do the interviewing being as they are asking us to have faith in a Healthcare system that by definition – they don’t trust.

        Otherwise why have Private Healthcare?

        In case these people forget when Stupid Cocky Johnson got severe Covid he wasn’t treated at The Alexander Private Hospital –
        he was treated/saved by the Health Service – as you would be for heart surgery ( to expensive for Private Medicine that one).

        Just in passing if you want two terrible examples of the ‘ choice ‘ of Private health Care ( Human or animal ) there was an article on the BBC this morning about Vets prices and Insurance companies who appear to own a lot of Vets Surgeries.

        6k was mentioned for something relatively normal procedure but having shopped around the poor animal lover got it down to about 2.5 k.

        The efficiency of Market Forces there obviously.

        I don’t need to tell anyone about Dentistry because that racket with the Insurance Companies has been going for a very long time.

        This is the future of The Health Service if we allow these Racketeers and there little helpers get away with abolishing NI.

        By the way – for both parties:

        If people don’t work or don’t work long enough will they not be entitled to a State Pension or Pension Credit?


    Our dear Craig Murray has just described Russian health care. It’s almost the same. You may have to wait a few days for an appointment with a urologist or endocrinologist, but most will be accepted on the same day. I signed up in the electronic queue, packed up, arrived right at the appointed time. It is obvious that the Greeks take an example from Russia)))

    • Kaiama

      +1 everything you say is true as I witnessed my wife getting her appointments on the computer and had to go and meet her at the end of a day’s appointments on the other side of Moscow. My experience started in the 1990’s hoarding zhetons at the year end before the annual price rise kicked in… to using a troika card in 2023 costing around 50p / journey to/from anywhere within Moscow where its all ONE zone.

      • Tatyana

        The two most pleasant things in the Russian healthcare system are 1. digitalization, which is really convenient, and 2. annual medical examination. In one single day I get a complete health check, with x-rays, ultrasound and lab tests. The doctor arranges for advanced tests if they see the need for this based on my medical record, or from my complaints. They also arrange appointments for specialists, right via computer on their table. Never before has it been so easy and so quick.
        And of course, all this is free, except that they may prescribe some medications and you will need to buy them at the pharmacy at your own expense. Only once did I receive a pack of pills for free directly from the doctor’s hands, but that was Covid.
        Well, if you end up in a hospital with an acute condition, they also do medical treatment or surgery for free. I think this is also very good, because it’s surprising and even scary for me to read stories from Western friends about how the hospital issues huge bills for treatment. There is something wrong with taking money from a sick person, because they are clearly disabled if they end up in the hospital!

  • Kaiama

    A Russian citizen in Moscow without any close family resident in Russia and with limited assets can apply to enter an old peoples home in exchange for only 75% of their old age pension. That’s about 75% of 20,000 roubles. It includes full board and lodging, entertainments, trips and you can go away for 3 months in a year (to the dacha, Crimea or where-ever) and still keep your place. That’s around £1,800 per year. Cost of recent UK quote for an old lady £80,000 for a similar UK deal WITHOUT onsite medical (the Russians have their own hospital in пенсионат для ветеранов труда 1 in Moscow). The Greek system works, but the Russian system is better (and not just the medical system – my wife used to read her health registration into the computer and make appointments with little waiting time as indicated above).

  • Allan Howard

    I went to a community health centre in Kandanos in SW Crete many years ago with a really bad toothache, and within ten minutes or so I was in the dentists chair, and a few minutes later it was, like magic, sorted.

    • Allan Howard

      I just did a search (out of interest) re healthcare system in Greece, and the top result was a wikipedia entry, which begins thus:

      Healthcare in Greece consists of a universal health care system provided through national health insurance, and private health care. According to the 2011 budget, the Greek healthcare system was allocated 6.1 billion euro, or 2.8% of GDP.[1] In a 2000 report by the World Health Organization, the Greek healthcare system was ranked 14th worldwide in the overall assessment, above other countries such as Germany (25) and the United Kingdom (18), while ranking 11th at level of service.

      Given that that was 24 years ago and the EU/German mafia fucked over Greece in the meantime, I thought I’d check for something more uptodate, and in this 2023 ranking Greece is 41 (out of 167 countries).

      PS And in respect of comments a bit further up the page, Russia is ranked 84.

        • j lowrie

          Yes, life expectancy plummeted in the 1990′ s in Russia with the reintroduction of capitalism, but it has been improving under Putin.

          • Tatyana

            Haha 🙂 I got a look into Wiki
            This part “The average Russian life expectancy of 71.6 years at birth is nearly 5 years shorter than the overall average figure for the European Union or the United States.”
            And the source is “European Union”. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Retrieved 2008-01-20.

            I thought it’s funny to say something good about Putin in answer to a person who gets figures from CIA 🙂
            If you were Russian, J Lowrie, I’d say you’re one excellent podzhigatel’ perdakov 🙂

        • Bayard

          “Unless you’re an opposition leader or journalist.”

          Which “opposition leader are we talking about here? It wouldn’t be Mr Navalny by any chance, who was never elected as an MP nor were any memebers of his “party” and whom even the Ukranians say died of natural causes? Some “opposition leader”! Meanwhile, real opposition leaders, like Zhirinovsky, die in their beds of old age.

          • Tatyana

            One strange woman Maria Pevchikh (who looks like an escort lady, but she herself thinks that she is aristocratic old money style) once spoke about Navalny in the sense that he is the real president of Russia and we don’t even need elections to install him as head of the state. When Navalny hardly got 5% supporters.
            Another strange woman, Mrs. Navalny, his wife, did not even attend his funeral, apparently being too busy at a security conference. The very fact of her being there is strange.
            But perhaps even stranger is that Ukrainian and Georgian students protested against Navalny’s daughter (a Stanford student) speaking at Georgetown University, because of Navalny’s chauvinism and his position on Crimea.

            I think he may be an opposition leader in some weird fantasies of weird people.

          • Stevie Boy

            Of course, we know that Maria Pevchikh is a security services asset – who infamously provided ‘water’ for Navalny prior to his illness.

  • tony oleary

    Hi – I live some of the time in Madeira. You can see a doctor easily and local clinics will treat you immediately.
    Call a dentist and you can see a dentist the same day.
    Being a resident, doctor is free – dentist very reasonable.
    Some of the time I live in Pembrokeshire. Can’t see a doctor, can’t see a dentist. The system is completely broken.

  • chris owen

    I saw a doctor in a hospital in Hangzhou China. I had a scan, treatment and medicines – all in the space of 40 mins. That would have taken 3 weeks minimum in the UK. All ats a cost (including the medicine) of £8.00. This efficiency, in the most populated country in the world.

  • nevermind

    Get better soon Craig, bronchitis can’t be rushed, it can linger and flare up again. Take whatever time it takes to get better.
    Weather is still wet here, but temperatures are getting warmer.
    Our best wishes to you and yours.

  • loki

    “In the NHS I would have had to plead for a receptionist at all for an appointment to see a GP”; oh you lucky, lucky bugger! A receptionist?
    Here Ive to phone between 8:30 and 11:00 for a triage nurse; listen to a lengthy covid warning then put into a que. The “que” only allows three callers – so if you’re caller number 4 you have to redial. And at 11:00 irrespective of you position, the line closes. Or you can dial 999. Or try your luck again the next day. Oh, and you cannot “book” an appointment; if you win the triage lottery you attend that day or not at all.

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