It probably depends on the individual practice, but where we were (24) the vet was a one-man-band and his charges where tiny in comparison with here in Devon.
Anecdotally I'm told that vet charges in Britain - already high - have risen in recent years in line with the increasing pressure on people to take out pet insurance. I'm told that if you don't have pet insurance you should make that clear to a vet in no uncertain terms, for reasons that I leave to you to work out.
Again - depends on the vet - but our French vet was kind, skilled, but also candidly realistic. So unlike many British vets who offer all sorts of tests and ongoing treatments, our French vet expressed himself honestly when he thought the time was up for an animal. Put bluntly that approach does work out cheaper..... (although if asked he would of course have done anything and everything to prolong life).