UK falls further down European health league

Britain's National Health Service remains a "mediocre" provider of health care, performing worse than almost all of its peers in Western Europe, according to a survey by Health Consumer Powerhouse.

According to the researchers:

  • The National Health Service is still one of Europe's worst healthcare providers, in the same league as countries such as Slovenia and Hungary, which spend far less on health.

  • Britain's "mediocre" health care system was ranked only 17th out of 29 countries, lagging behind all its northern European neighbours.

  • Despite the billions of pounds pumped into the system by the Labour Government, Britain came out near the bottom on cancer survival rates, waiting times, MRSA infections and the quality of its dental service.

  • Britain has one of the least efficient health care systems in Europe; when the quality of the system was compared with how much it cost taxpayers, the United Kingdom ranked 26th out of 29 – above only Bulgaria, Poland and Latvia.

    Dr. Arne Bjornberg, who led the study, said the United Kingdom "let its patients down" by providing poor access to new treatments, especially those for cancer.

    "Patients in the United Kingdom have a right to expect more," she said. "Despite substantial funding increases, the United Kingdom is still a mediocre overall performer."

    Source: Ian Traynor, UK falls further down European health league despite rise in funding, The Guardian, October 2, 2007; and Daniel Martin, Healthcare in Estonia is better than Britain's NHS, says damning report, London Daily Mail, October 2, 2007.

    For Guardian text:,,2181427,00.html

    For LDM text:

    For more on International Issues:

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 09 October 2007
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