My sister has just returned from holiday touring central Spain, and whilst there she had an accident at 10 at night when one of her hard contact lenses shattered. She went to the local hospital in the town where they were staying that night (Avila) and although the staff there tried their best, they didn't want to go poking around in her eye to fish bits of lense out, so they phoned one of the main hospitals in Madrid, where an opthalmic specialist was on call. They told them to come down immediately, so .....get this....the hospital in Avila programmed my brother-in-law's SATNAV for him with the Madrid hospital's location, and EVEN sent an anaesthatist with them in case the pain increased. They arrived at the hospital in Madrid, who were expecting them, my sister was seen straight away, given a local anasthetic and the remaining pieces of contact lense were removed. My brother in law, who is quite up on computers, tells me that the gear they used to magnify the eye and detect pieces of lens, was absolutely state-of-the-art. When the subject of payment was mentioned, they just wanted a photocopy of my sisters passport and EU Health Card...and that was it. Get this, time from leaving hotel, to returning to hotel, after a 200 mile round trip and being seen by staff in 2 hospitals....just under 5 hours!!! My question, if anyone knows the answer, is; if we spent 104 Billion quid on the NHS this year, then why isn't our health system anywhere near as good as that? Before anyone mentions the burden that immigration and asylum seekers put on the NHS, Spain is greatly affected by these phenomena as well, so I doubt it's that. I just know that had she been in the UK, she'd have probably waited more than 5 hours in casualty before being seen in the first place.