In a blog post on another matter Anna Raccoon describes the experience of France's semi-private health system:
...a chauffeur driven limousine pulled up outside my house, precisely on time, in order to drive me in comfort some 100 miles to the specialist Cancer centre in Bordeaux; the scan was carried out within minutes of my arrival, leaving me half an hour to enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee and a fag before the consultant appeared smilingly at his door to greet me by name at the allotted time. I cannot tell you what hell and deprivations I must suffer now that I am safely out of the all embracing grasp of the NHS.
I'm sure there's a reason why the NHS can't deliver this sort of service. The words "monopoly" and "government" spring to my mind.