My wife and I had our first baby earlier in 2018. Words cannot describe the all-encompassing experience, as any new parent will tell you. But one of the relatively mundane novelties was a first-hand experience of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Having grown up in SA in a family able to afford private health insurance, it was a culture shock to enter a system in which the costs don’t even come up in conversation. Even for the well-insured rich in SA, some healthcare decisions inevitably are about money. In the UK, in general, cost has very little to do with deciding what care is needed. Our experience of the NHS before, during and after the birth was outstanding. We felt we were getting the best care in the world and it cost us nothing. The NHS is the world’s first free (at the point of use) national health scheme and remains one of the world’s best. It is not without its trials — it is chronically underfunded and performance in certain areas is lacking. You can feel like a s...

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