How Kaiser matches up against Britain’s National Health Service

The British Medical Journal this year published a comparison of Kaiser Permanente and the National Health Service, concluding that health care “costs per capita in Kaiser and the NHS are similar to within 10 percent and that Kaiser’s performance is considerably better in certain respects, particularly access to specialist diagnosis and treatment, and hospital waiting times."
Measure NHS Kaiser (California)
Primary care
Time to see a primary care physician 2001: average 3 days; <48 hours by 2004 Urgent: <24 hours; routine: 80% <7 days
Telephone help line and associated services NHS direct help line available. By 2004, NHS Direct will provide gateway to advice, appointments, and out of hours care. 24-hour hot line available for advice and appointments. Appointments can also be made online.
Repeat prescription available without calling or visiting a doctor Available nationwide by 2004 Available now
Time spent with primary care physician 8.8 minutes Medical: 20 minutes; Ob/Gyn: 15 minutes; pediatrics: 10 minutes
Specialist referral
Waiting time to see a specialist 2001: 36% <4 weeks, 20% >13 weeks, 4% >6 months; by 2005, average 5 weeks and maximum 3 months 2001: 80% <2 weeks
Waiting time for inpatient treatment or surgery 2001: 41% <13 weeks, 33% >5 months, 7% >12 months; by 2005: average 7 weeks and maximum 6 months 2001: 90% <13 weeks
Children who received various immunizations by 2 years old DTP=95%, MMR=88%, Hib=94% DTP=91%*, Polio=93%*, MMR=94%*, Hib=91%*, Hepatitis B=86%*, Chicken pox=83%*
Specialists per 100,000 people
Pediatricians 4.9 12.3
Ob/Gyn 4.1 8.3
Oncologists 0.9 1.7
Radiologists 4.3 6.0
Cardiologists 0.8 2.4
Cancer screening
Breast 69% of women age 50–64 had mammogram in past 3 years† 78% of women age 52–69 had ≥1 mammogram in the past 2 years*
Cervical 84% of women age 25–64 screened at least once in past 5 years‡ 80% of women age 21–64 screened at least once in past 3 years*
Diabetic care
People with diabetes who received annual retinal examination 60% 70% for <65 years;
80% for = 65 years
Coronary revascularization procedures per 100,000
Angioplasty 38** 116
Bypass graft 47** 127
Transplantation per 100,000
Heart 0.5 0.5
Kidney 2.7 4.8
*Data from Kaiser US (not California).
†2000, England.
‡1997, England.
**1998, England.


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