Britain lags the world in healthcare funding

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The Independent Online
Britain continues to lag behind other developed nations when it comes to spending on healthcare, figures showed yesterday.

A report to be published next month shows that total health spending in the UK was unchanged at last year at 6.8 per cent of gross domestic product.

Of this, 5.9 per cent was spent on the NHS. The proportion of income devoted to healthcare remained below the 1995 average among countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development of 7.9 per cent.

Britain was well behind Germany, which spent 9.5 per cent of GDP on health care, and further behind the United States, where health spending accounted for 14.3 per cent.

The figures, from the independent Office of Health Economics, showed that NHS spending per head of population in the UK rose to pounds 717 last year - an increase of 1.5 per cent on 1995.

However in the 20 years between 1976 and 1996 NHS spending per head increased by 74 per cent in real terms, while total health expenditure per head including private care rose by 86 per cent.

Despite its low expenditure, Britain health record was not unfavourable according to recognised indicators, said the OHE. Infant mortality in the UK was average, while that of the United States was relatively high.