There is a Shriners Hospitals for Children commercial on my TV right now. They are asking for donations to fund their work with children with severe health challenges. St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital has a similar mission and need for funding. Both of these hospitals provide their services at no cost to the patients and their families.
In countries where the government provides healthcare for everyone with no additional cost to the patient, do such charity hospitals exist? What are the pros and cons of that?
I know that Shriner’s has a hospital in Canada and a couple in Mexico.
These hospitals don’t only function as providers of free healthcare- in fact, if patients have insurance , they bill the insurance company. They also conduct research and my guess is they provide better care than the average hospital for the conditions they treat.
Note that St Jude’s is kind of the Harvard of children’s hospitals, in that it has something like $7.6 billion in reserves. They could run for five years without getting another penny from anyone. (Cite here.)
Give them money if that’s what you want, but there are plenty of other children’s hospitals probably including one closer to you.
All hospital treatments in Canada are paid by provincial health plans. (usually). There is nothing special about those. Some hospitals have specializations - for example Toronto Sick Children’s Hospital specializes in a particular type of patient. (A holdover from when they were independent institutions)
They are still technically independent, but beholden to a provincial health authority which dictates budget and assorted other operations.
This doesn’t stop them from occasionally begging - on TV sometimes - with special lotteries etc. as fundraisers for things like adding extra equipment above and beyond what the province will pay for. “Help us buy a new MRI unit for Sudbury General!”. There is also Ronald McDonald House charities, which provides family housing for children who have to travel for treatment, that sort of thing. The Shriners and similar groups still do fundraising to assist in the treatment of, for example, burn victims or amputees, IIRC - since a lot of extended physiotherapy and extra equipment like motorized wheelchairs are not as easy to get from the healthcare system.
But a hospital like St. Jude’s is not particularly urgent when every hospital can provide whatever care needed (within reason) to any citizen who walks in (or is wheeled in).
The funny thing about universal healthcare is - if it’s free, people actually use it. So the major issue in healthcare is balancing funding with service. The issue you hear about in elections is the waiting list limes for assorted less urgent care.
I know that Americans (at least some of them) tend to think that universal health care is free (i.e. paid for b taxes, and not actually free, as opponents are quick to point out). However, you’ll find that it varies a lot between different countries.
One example is Netherlands, where all health care is private, none of them are allowed to make a profit, and it’s mandatory to have an insurance.
Most NHS hospitals have some form of associated charity or benevolent fund, whether it’s a “comforts fund” for extras (remember the film Calendar Girls? That started out as a fundraiser for more comfortable furniture for visitors to the hospital’s cancer ward), or for research or additional medical facilities. One of the biggest is Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. But there is also an umbrella NHS Charities Together.
Similarly, air ambulances up and down the country are funded almost entirely by donations and have their own individual charities and a national umbrella organisation.
The Australian situation is that probably all hospitals have a fund-raising element to supplement what is provided through normal channels. This probably ranges from sausage sizzles to buy a decent coffee machine in the visitors lounge, while others will aim for a new heart transplant wing.
The public hospital system is supplemented by networks of private hospitals, which may be entirely for profit, expected to pay a dividend to shareholders, to ones run as essentially charitable institutions and which may be affiliated with churches or other organisations.
Entirely private centres of medical excellence do exist, but are probably largely subsidised by the additional private health cover that people pay on top of their general contribution to providing universal health care.
The province provides operating budget and usually 1/3 of capital budgets. I was a director of a hospital foundation here in Toronto (since merged into the University Health Network) and we were often running both capital campaigns and endowment campaigns.
On a related note, health authorities in countries with universal healthcare have refused to pay for treatments deemed experimental or outright quackery. This has led to fundraising campaigns in those countries to allow patients to be treated at “alternative” cancer clinics in Tijuana, Mexico, or a certain notorious clinic in Houston.
On a whole population basis, to be clear; and to mandate that it must be provided if the responsible clinician (not a second-guessing administrator) judges that it’s appropriate for this or that individual patient in the light of NICE’s guidance on a treatment’s efficacy.
LOL! Yes, hospitals do charge exorbitant parking fees. And no, they are not considered “medically necessary” and are not covered!
OTOH, in Ontario the maximum fee for an ambulance is $45, and even that is waived under many circumstances. But you can’t abuse it – you get dinged for pretty exorbitant costs if the ER doctor feels that calling an ambulance was obviously unnecessary.
Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toh. Everyone is covered, everything is paid for. You don’t go bankrupt, I assume, by getting sick or being in an accident.
I am curious, but I gather the premiums are not the life-shattering amounts mentioned in the USA?
The NHS is often held up in Canada as the worst example of UHC. “Sorry, the specialist is all booked up for 6 months. Oh, you have extra insurance and can pay more? The doctor will see you next Tuesday.” It is exactly why Canadian health care laws are the way they are - a doctor cannot be simultaneously in and out of the system. The only personal costs of my wife’s grandfather getting a hip replacement was the $8/hr parking fee that we all had to pay to visit him. (But in NJ, I also had to pay to visit my father in hospital)
Canada and almost every country has those societies - but generally, they exist for research into cures. Some funding may actually go to trat patients, but usually as part of clinical trials of new treatments.
Which leads to continuous allegations that things like hip replacements and other major surgeries that can be delayed are in fact budget-allocated as annual quotas, forcing line-ups. My former boss waited 8 months for a hip replacement, only to have them discover he needed other work (remove the screws in his thigh they hadn’t considered for, during that 8 months). After that surgery, back of the line, another 8 months.
UHC is not sweetness and light, but it beats the alternative.
I’ve no idea if the donations go towards that, but the NHS certainly does pick up some humanitarian cases. I was actually visiting a large hospital trust yesterday (for business reasons), and they were talking about what they’ve been doing for Ukrainian oncology patients. In my experience (with the charity connected to the same NHS hospital trust), the charitable donations go towards things which enhance patient comfort and experience, so play areas in the children’s ward, or soft furnishings and entertainment in waiting areas. Rarely on ‘kit’, which is paid for by the NHS.
To the OP’s question, I’m not aware of any hospitals in the UK which aren’t either NHS, or private (ie fee charging) - I await to be corrected. I think most hospices are charities, although their funding comes from a combination of the NHS and private donations.