A British doctor explains healthcare in England

A British doctor explains healthcare in England

Fragment from “Sicko” (2007) 

Watch and discuss:

1. How does healthcare work in the UK?

2. What kind of car does the doctor drive?

3. How much is his house?

4. Compare healthcare in the UK with healthcare in your own country.


1. It´s paid for by the government and all everybody can have access to it.

2. He drives an Audi.

3. It´s a million-dollar home.

Michael Moore: I was wondering, though, what's it like for the doctors here in Britain who have to live under this kind of state control 

Michael Moore: Are you a family doctor?

Dr:  Yeah, I suppose we'd call them GPs or general practitioners here uh-huh 

MM: Right, so you have like a family practice? 

Dr: Oh yeah, it's an NHS practice. We have nine doctors within that practice. 

MM: You´re paid for by the government?  So you work for the government?

Dr: Oh yeah. 

MM: A government paid doctor.

Dr: Absolutely.

MM:  A patient comes to see you. Before you treat them, do you have to call the government insurance company before you can treat them? 

Dr: No, I don't deal with money at all on an everyday basis. 

MM: Have you ever had to say no to someone who was sick and  needed help?

Dr: No, never.

MM: Have you heard of anyone being in the hospital and being removed because they couldn't pay their bill?

Dr: No, never and I wouldn't want to work in that system.

MM:  So, working for the government, you probably have to use public transportation.

Dr:  No. So, I have a I have a car that I use, and you know, I drive. 

MM: An old beater?

MM: You live in the kind of rough part of town or…

Dr:  I mean, I live in a terrific part of town is called Greenwich. It's a lovely house, it´s  a three-story house 

MM: How many other families have to live in that house with you?

Dr:  So where we live that's four bedrooms but my wife and my son, you know, it's just the three of us then 

MM: How much did you pay for that? 

Dr: Haha five hundred and fifty thousand, yes.

MM: Yeah so a million dollars.

Dr:  Yeah.

MM:  You're a government paid doctor.

Dr:  Yes.

MM:  On a national health insurance, health care plan here and you live in a million-dollar home.

Dr: Yes. I think probably my friends think we do quite well really.

MM: How well do you do?

Dr: I earn around 85,000 including pen—

MM: Eighty-five thousand pounds?

Dr: 85.000 pounds a year. That includes pension that they would pay into me. They´d probably earn just over a hundred thousand pounds within my practice. 

MM: One hundred thousand pounds, so that's almost two hundred thousand dollars.

Dr:  Yes, absolutely. The money that we earn we get paid by what we do so the better we do for our patients then the more that we get paid.

MM: What do you mean? 

Dr: There's a new system and in that new system, if the most number of your patients have low blood pressures or you get most of your patients to stop smoking or you get most of your patients to have things like mental health reviews if they're on well or low cholesterol, then you get paid more. 

MM: In other words, this year if you get more people that are your patients to stop smoking yes you'll get more money.

Dr: Yes, absolutely.

MM: You´ll earn more.

Dr: Oh yeah.

MM: So doctors in America do not necessarily have to fear having a universal health care.

Dr: No, I think if you want to have two or three million-dollar homes and four or five nice cars and six or seven nice televisions, then maybe yeah, you need to practice somewhere where you can earn that. But I think we did comfortably hereand London's an expensive city but I think we live very comfortably.

MM: And you´re getting by ok on the million dollar home, the Audie, flat-screen TV…

Dr:  Yeah we're coping with those.


1. It´s paid for by the government and all everybody can have access to it.

2. He drives an Audi.

3. It´s a million-dollar home.