NHS means British healthcare rated top out of 11 western countries, with US coming last

Cost, efficiency and access to healthcare in Britain put it to the top of the pile, as Switzerland comes second and Sweden third

Britain’s healthcare has been lauded as the best out of 11 of the world’s wealthiest countries, following a far-reaching study by a US-based foundation.

In a report entitled “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall,” the quality, efficiency, cost and performance of the US health system was compared to Canada and nine other countries in Europe and Australasia.

Conducted by The Commonwealth Fund, the report ranks the UK first overall, scoring it highly for its quality of care, efficiency and low cost at the point of service, with Switzerland coming an overall second.

The US came last, as it has done in four other editions of “Mirror, Mirror” since 2004.

The full list of countries analysed in the study - published yesterday - were: New Zealand, Australia, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, Britain and the US.

“The most notable way the US differs from other industrialised countries is the absence of universal health insurance coverage,” which is available in five other nations, the publication states.

It says that despite being the most expensive health care system in the world, the US continually underachieves “on most dimensions of performance.”

The UK came top in many of the seperate rankings The UK came top in many of the seperate rankings Click HERE for larger table

The compiled data was from the years prior to Obama’s flagship Affordable Care Act having been phased in, thus without the reverberations that are slowly being felt from it.

The foundation used information from its own 2011 national health system scorecard, as well evidence from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It also used 2011-13 policy surveys of patients and primary care physicians, who discussed their views on their countries’ health systems.

According to the study, the UK “outperforms all countries” in the management of chronic illness. “The widespread and effective use of health information technology (HIT) in the UK plays a large role in the country’s high score on the chronic care management indicators, as well as its performance on system aspects of preventive care delivery.”

Britain also apparently leads the way in stellar levels of patient communication, alongside Germany. This relates to whether patients reported that they always or often got a clear, understandable and timely response from their doctor.

Customer feedback was also something that the UK excelled in, with 84 per cent of physicians receiving patient satisfaction data, compared with 60 per cent in the US which ranked third in that category.

The results will be welcomed by pro-NHS campaigners and pressure groups, whose aims are to protect the National Health Service from sliding into private hands.

Barrie Brown, Unite's national officer for health, told The Independent: “That the NHS is the best healthcare system in the world, in sharp contrast to the wholly private US system, is testament to dedication of NHS staff who have continually put the patient first in the face of senseless reorganisation, mounting debt and real term pay cuts.

“The government’s race to sell off of the NHS to private business will destroy this incredible British achievement and put profits before people. The glow from the report will be very short-lived if we do not stop the sale of our NHS and value the people who do extraordinary things every day.”

The UK had the second-cheapest health expenditure on of the list, spending $3,405 per capita, compared with £4,495 in Germany or $8,508 in the US.

“Ten countries spend considerably less on health care per person and as a percent of gross domestic product than does the United States,” the report says.

The study adds: “These findings indicate that, from the perspectives of both physicians and patients, the US health care system could do much better in achieving value for the nation’s substantial investment in health.”

Britain slips up marginally on its “timeliness of care” and ranks a shocking second to last for the “healthy lives” indicator, which had looked at life expectancy, infant mortality and death rates for conditions treatable with medical care.

Contrary to popular opinion, the report claimed that it is a "common mistake" to associate universal health coverage with long waiting times for specialised care.

“The UK has short waiting times for basic medical care and nonemergency access to services after hours,” it says.

“The UK also has improved waiting times to see a specialist and now rates fourth on this dimension with the US ranking third.”

Overall, it was said that the UK provides “universal coverage with low out-of-pocket costs while maintaining quick access to specialty services.”

Paul Evans, director of the NHS Support Federation told The Independent: “It shows that the basic concept of the NHS not only works, it stands up well against all other systems.

“But within these results is a stark warning about opening up the NHS to the market and profit driven companies, like the US, as it is clearly not associated with care that is safe and effective for all.”

News
A Brazilian wandering spider
news

World's most lethal spider found under a bunch of bananas

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Wonnacott dancing the pasadoble
TVStrictly Come Dancing The Result
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in the win over QPR
footballInternet reacts to miss shocker for Liverpool striker
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
BBC's Antiques Roadshow uncovers a TIE fighter pilot helmet from the 1977 Star Wars film, valuing it at £50,000
TV

TV presenter Fiona Bruce seemed a bit startled by the find during the filming of Antiques Roadshow

News
people

Comedian says he 'never laughed as hard as I have writing with Rik'

Sport
Steven Caulker of QPR scores an own goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Liverpool
football
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Science teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are seeking a languages...

Year 6 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...

Year 6 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...

Year 4 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 4 Primary Teachers needed Randst...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past