The Australian Government is wise to examine other health care systems as it strives to improve the quality of care and address rising costs to both governments and individuals. Focus is currently on the United Kingdom, whose National Health Service (NHS ) stands out as one that delivers good care at a reasonable price to all who need it. The Australian and UK systems have many similarities: universal access, tax payer support, no or low cost at point of delivery, and good population health outcomes. They also face similar pressures on services from aging, increasingly unwell yet expectant populations. However, there are also differences, largely in the way that health care is funded, organised and delivered. The NHS is a huge system for 60 million people in four home countries with diverging policies. Within England, the system is managed through 10 strategic health authorities, each responsible for about 5 million people and having the right to interpret national policy. Population based health care, including tertiary care, is funded locally via primary care trusts.
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