It's always the way, isn't it?
Contrary to what you may believe I DO think the NHS is a wonderful thing. A strange, misdirected, wayward and lumbering thing, but wonderful, all the same. I wouldn't privatise it, although I would cut the hell out of it. For the majority of treatments the existing facilities are ageing but perfectly adequate. Nurses don't need degrees and managers don't need to outnumber the nurses. The expensive failed IT system was obviously (*sarcasm klaxon*) £12billion well spent and it is truly ludicrous that the NHS is the fifth largest employer in the whole world.
I mean, just how sick is the sick man of Europe for that to have happened? The service shouldn't spend its resources applying sticking plasters to minor scuffs and scrapes, nor tending to the bruised egos of Britain's low self esteem industry client base. Neither should it have to deal with drunks in A & E, sundry so-called addictions and imaginary new-age diseases invented by drug companies to sell, er... drugs.
But if it's going to fulfill even a part of its currently hugely inflated remit its duty should be towards British citizens first, EHIC card holders second and 'health tourists' not at all. Unless it gets paid. For the savvy burglar about town, I'm away on holiday next week, for which I have bought health insurance for immediate treatment and to get me back should I suffer illness and accident. I do not expect my host country to tend to my wounds for free, so why should I pay at home to do just that for people who have come here to, effectively, steal from us?
Yes, yes, yes, in an ideal world, blah, blah, blah, caring, compassionate and all that gubbins, but you may have noticed we have a teensy weensy bit of a financial crisis of our own right now. Many other countries operate a 'healthy' form of health tourism whereby those so inclined can take advantage of private medical facilities cheaper over there than here at home - eyes and teeth are very big abroad - so why don't we follow their example.
People are dying to get into Britain, we should be charging them for the privilege.