Brain tumour? You’re better off in Zagreb

Dalrymple notes that survival after several diseases — ­various cancers, heart attacks and strokes — is lower in Britain than in most western European countries. Germany spends almost twice as much per head on cancer treatment as the UK. And if you have brain cancer in the UK, your chance of surviving five years is 26.3%, while in Croatia it is 42.2%.

He points out that by international comparison, the performance of the National Health Service

is mediocre at best. It has a dreadful reputation in the rest of western Europe, and I have never heard a ­European say he would like to be in England if he fell ill. On the ­contrary, most Europeans I know fear to meet the NHS in their hour of need.

Among Dalrymple’s friends,

some have been ­wonderfully well cared for, but ­others have been treated abominably. Even in so-called centres of excellence, there has been carelessness and ­incompetence even in things that would cost nothing to put right.

He notes that the NHS

often inflicts humiliation and suffering on people, which happens much less ­frequently or is even unknown in other ­countries.

Hospitals

are much less run-down abroad, on average, than they are in Britain, and allow for more privacy. We have 2.7 hospital beds for every 1,000 people, compared to an EU average of 5.2, and the number of CT scanners is a third of what ­neighbouring nations enjoy.

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