For more than a decade, the UK government has run its National Health Service, the world’s largest public healthcare system, on a shoestring budget. The NHS boasted one of the leanest healthcare systems in the developed world, spending less per capita on average than its larger European neighbors – and far less than the US
Now the publicly funded service is collapsing. People with heart attacks or strokes wait an average of over an hour and a half for an ambulance. The hospitals are so full that they are turning away patients. A record 7.1 million people in England – more than one in 10 people – are stuck on waiting lists for non-emergency hospital treatment like hip replacements. The NHS faced the biggest strike in its history on Monday, with thousands of paramedics and nurses walking off their salaries.