I just got settled in Wimbledon and am going to seek out a GP. I'm here on a Work Visa and my Civil Partner will be arriving next month. Hopfully the GP's office will be less of a hassle than what I've been reading. I did want to make a note regarding the NHS vs the health care in The States, such as it is.
While it is true that NHS healthcare is funded by taxes and should not be considered free, it's application to the public, specifically prescription coverage, beats anything I witnessed in The States. Unless you are impoverished and destitute, AND have medical needs, at which point you could apply for Medicaid, the only medical and precription coverage available to you is from your employer, IF they offer it. The medical plan cost is deducted from your paycheck, $35-$60 per employee and per dependant, and the monthly Doctor's visits and medications have out of pocket costs can easily exceed $70/script/month. The amount you pay is the same regardless of income, so those making the least payout the same as those making the most.
One very sad example of the "American" system comes from my sister in Texas. Her husband is self employed and has no medical plan available to him. She works at Wal-Mart (ASDA here) full time and placed the entire family of 7 (five kids) on her medical plan from work. After the deductions from her paycheck for taxes, and medical/prescription coverage, and out of pocket costs for doctor's office visits and medications, her monthly income runs at a deficit. Her income tax filing for the past three years was a negative amount.
Imagine having to work full time, for nothing, to give your family the insurance that IF one of them needs medical care, the cost will not impoverish you.
Since I have arrived here and began working as a nurse, I have been bombarded with complaints about the NHS. I love telling the complainers the above story, shuts them right up!