Not just the UK...
France has a very good system for this, apparently.
My personal experience with NHS Direct was actually (all things considered) pretty damn good. Mind you I am a strong proponent of the NHS, despite its neglect over the past decade, Its still a valid and potent solution, and one which I am grateful for! And have been a lot throughout my life!
Driving a motorbike, having a son, and an accident prone girlfriend makes you very happy that a relatively small proportion of your income goes to those fellas!