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UK's NHS tops efficiency chart

UK's NHS tops efficiency chart

In a study of the healthcare systems of seven industrialised nations, the UK finished top in terms of efficiency.

The Commonwealth Fund report found that Britain also scored highly on quality of care and access to care, but came second to last for "long, health, productive lives".

Overall, Holland topped the rankings, the UK was second, ahead of Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Canada. The United States came last in the list.

The study took three years, and more than 27,000 patients and primary care doctors were surveyed across all seven countries. Other areas that were scrutinised included safe care, timeliness of care, and equity – or access regardless of social circumstances.

Efficiency was measured examining total national expenditures on health as a percent of gross domestic product, as well as the amount spent on health administration and insurance – ranking the UK top.

The report also said the UK outperformed the other countries on six of the 10 chronic care management indicators, suggesting it may be down to "the major push made by the UK government to implement health information technology".

In relation to healthcare access, it found: "The UK has relatively short waiting times for basic medical care and non-emergency access to services after hours, but has longer waiting times for specialist care and elective, non-emergency surgery."

But Britain came last when measured for life expectancy at age 60. The UK's was 22.5 years, well behind leading nation Australia with 24.6 years.

"The US and UK had much higher death rates in 2003 from conditions amenable to medical care than some of the other countries, for example rates 25% to 50% higher than Canada and Australia," the report said.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

NHS

The Commonwealth Fund

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