Health-care failings make Britain the poor relation within Europe

The United Kingdom's health-care system is a bad deal for patients compared with those in the rest of Europe, according to a new report. Although it has the highest-paid doctors and the second-highest number of nurses per head of population, the United Kingdom was described by the study as "the poor relation" of European health-care.

The study used official data to compare the U.K. system with those of the Netherlands, Spain and France. The researchers found the United Kingdom had the:

  • Second-lowest number of general practitioners (GPs).
  • Lowest number of GP consultations per inhabitant.
  • Lowest number of dental consultations per capita.
  • Second-lowest health-care spending as a share of gross domestic product (GDP).

    The findings of the Comparative Study of European Health-care Systems cast further doubts on the performance of the U.K. health system.

    Katherine Murphy, of the Patients Association, said: "This is a damning indictment of Britain's health-care system compared with that enjoyed by many of our European neighbours. Despite having the highest-paid doctors, in many cases we have the worst care."

    Source: Patrick Sawer, Health-care failings make Britain the poor relation within Europe, London Telegraph, November 12, 2007.

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    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 20 November 2007
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