East or west, NHS is the best

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NHS HospitalA study analysing the best healthcare systems in the world has ranked the NHS number one.

Conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, the Mirror, Mirror on the Wall report is an in-depth look into the health services of 11 countries in comparison to the USA.

The report ranks the UK first overall, leading the way in quality of care, efficiency and low cost at the point of service, with Switzerland coming in second place.

The USA is ranked last, as it consistently underachieves in ‘most dimensions of performance,’ largely due to the ‘absence of universal health insurance coverage.’

In contrast, the UK provides ‘universal coverage with low out-of-pocket costs while maintaining quick access to specialty services.’

This will be welcome news to proponents of the NHS, who accuse the coalition of attempting to privatise the state-funded institution.

The Commonwealth Fund, a Washington-based foundation produced the report. The fund is respected around the world for its analysis of the performance of different countries’ health systems. It examined 11 countries, including detailed data from patients, doctors and the World Health Organisation, the Guardian reported.

“The United Kingdom ranks first overall, scoring highest on quality, access and efficiency,” the fund’s researchers conclude in their 30-page report. Their findings amount to a huge endorsement of the health service, especially as it spends the second-lowest amount on healthcare among the 11 – just £2,008 per head, less than half the £5,017 in the US. Only New Zealand, with £1,876, spent less.

In the Commonwealth Fund study, the UK came first out of the 11 countries in eight of the 11 measures of care the authors looked at. It came top on measures including providing effective care, safe care, co-ordinated care and patient-centred care. The fund also rated the NHS as the best for giving access to care and for efficient use of resources.