The great debate on health service financing has produced an array of mutually exclusive solutions. The one that is most laughable is the suggestion that private health care as currently practised in the UK might expand to fill the gap. It is perfectly possible to argue that some form of compulsory insurance, perhaps related to employment, might generate money more acceptably than direct taxation, but to suggest that the shortfalls in care for the elderly, hip replacements, accident and emergency departments, kidney transplants and anti-cancer drugs can be made good by the stately pleasure domes of BUPA hospitals is to betray a crass misunderstanding of why such palaces make their money and what the health service really needs.
In Britain, the private sector thrives on exclusivity. This is the Virgin Upper Class of health care. You have a room to yourself, a telephone, china cups and Sky TV. You don't have to strap hang with hoi polloi. Who would want to go private if everybody did it?
Private practice is a form of alternative medicine and is successful for the same reason. Make the patient feel special. Your disease is not something that any doctor can deal with. It requires my personal attention.