UK health system comes out on top in new report

The UK was rated first out of 11 countries in a report on international healthcare systems published last week by the Commonwealth Fund.

The report compared the UK to healthcare systems in the US, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and Australia.

The Commonwealth Fund’s report ranks the UK first overall and first for care process (prevention, safe care, coordination, and patient engagement) and equity (comparison of performance for higher- and lower-income individuals). The UK also scores highly in terms of getting value out of the money the tax payer puts in.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “This international research is a welcome reminder of the fundamental strengths of the NHS, and a call-to-arms in support of the NHS Forward View’s practical plan to improve cancer, mental health and other outcomes of care.”

None of the 11 countries examined in the report are ranked first consistently across all measures used.

Whilst the UK comes first overall, there is room for improvement in health care outcomes – this is despite the report noting the UK experienced the fastest reduction in deaths amenable to health care in the past decade.

The health service plan, Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View, published in March sets out how we will deliver practical improvements in areas prized by patients and the public – cancer, mental health and GP access – while transforming the way that care is delivered to ease pressure on hospitals by helping frail and older people live healthier, more independent lives.

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