Swiss health

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Dr John Cameron (Letters, 9 February) does not have to speculate on the relative performance of the NHS. The World Health Organisation in Geneva does comparative surveys.

The one I remember from maybe 20 years ago put the NHS fifth in the world, with the French best.

This was a study that weighed quality of care, access to care and cost. The Swiss fell back on cost (never a generic drug in Switzerland), USA well back on access to care. The NHS cost 7.5 per cent of GDP, the Swiss 11.5 per cent and America 17.5 per cent.

In 35 years of family life in Switzerland I had no systematic complaints. The system is private, but covered by insurance.

Insurance is a legal obligation, mostly paid by the employer, but for people on benefits it is paid by the government. Response times for emergencies seem to be better than here in Scotland. This may be due to their system of “SOS Medecin”, little blue and white cars with a bright roof light and loud horn driven by usually young doctors who can respond very quickly.

They take the A&E department to the patient rather than the patient to the department. Of course they do have large yellow “Cardiomobiles” for the serious cases.

They also have “Permanences” which are like old-fashioned doctors surgeries where you just turn up, but 24/7.

George Shering

West Acres Drive

Newport-on-Tay

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