The NHS, which celebrated its 69th birthday on 5th July, is currently experiencing serious understaffing, disruption, and a long serving budget squeeze, yet it has clung onto the top spot and has been named the best, safest, and most affordable healthcare system out of 11 countries.
It is the second time in a row that the UK has finished top, in the recent US think tank research by the Commonwealth Fund, which is undertaken every three years.
Each nation’s healthcare provision was revealed through questionnaires completed by doctors and patients, and ranked through five different quality measures – ease of healthcare, equality of access, administrative efficiency, results, and the quality of the care process for patients.
- New Zealand
- United States
The UK came first in four out of 11 categories, being judged to deliver the safest care, be the best at care processes, provide the most affordable care, and offer the most equity.
In the US, 44 per cent of people on low incomes were found to have difficulty accessing healthcare, compared to just seven per cent in the UK.
Jeremy Hunt, England’s Health Secretary, said: “These outstanding results are a testament to the dedication of NHS staff, who despite pressure on the front line are delivering safer, more compassionate care than ever.”
The experts however did conclude that the UK does poorly in healthcare outcomes – in which the UK came tenth. This covers general health of the population, early deaths and cancer survival among other measures.
An NHS England spokesperson said: “This international research is a welcome reminder of the fundamental strengths of the NHS, and a call to arms in support of the NHS Forward View practical plan to improve cancer, mental health and other outcomes of care.”
PM Theresa May has told the chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, to ensure that the service uses its £120bn annual budget more efficiently.