UK Ranks Top for Health Care above the US

The UK National Health Service voted the best in the world

The United Kingdom’s National Health Service has been voted the best national healthcare system in the world, and more surprisingly, the US ranked 11th overall in a report by the Commonwealth Fund. This is despite it being the most expensive.  

Rating each of the 11 healthcare systems in 12 categories, the report concluded that the UK “continues to demonstrate strong performance”. They ranked top in the ‘quality of the care provided’ category, as well as: access, efficiency, effective care and patient-centred care. Overall the UK came top in nine of the 12 categories.

This is in stark contrast to the US. They ranked as the world’s most expensive healthcare provider for the fourth time, but, it should be noted however, that the data for the report was collected prior to the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, pejoratively dubbed ‘Obamacare” in the US media. 

Not only did the US prove vastly more expensive than the NHS, but doctors stateside were also found to have particular difficulties receiving up-to-date information in a timely manner. The system, as a whole, showed flaws in its ability to co-ordinate care and administration.

The report further highlighted the apparent disparity between that afforded to wealthier sections of US society when compared to the NHS, in the sense that those on lower than average incomes were much less inclined to visit the doctor when ill, not getting the recommended tests or treatment and skipping doses to lower costs.   

This is not to say that the NHS is not adversely affected by social and economic factors to some degree. It ranked 10th in its ability to avoid deaths among patients who – it is assumed – would have survived were they to receive medical attention in a timely fashion. Although, the authors of the report stress that blame for this cannot be laid solely at the doorstep of the NHS, but is ‘strongly influenced’ by the aforementioned socio-economic factors.

The NHS provides comprehensive medical treatment to anyone who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay, and it has done since its introduction across the UK in 1948, making it 66 years in front of the US in many respects. This is not to say that the NHS is perfect, as many UK residents will attest. Indeed, private health insurance does offer benefits to UK residents, including significantly shorter waiting times and the ability to choose a doctor. It’s easy to take out private health care insurance but it is worth looking around for the best deal. Saga and for example, offer cover with a variety of options which may be appealing to those over 50. 

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