UK healthcare system falls short in comparison to other G20 countries

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Latest data analysis shows UK in bottom five for number of available hospital beds and nurses per 100,000 people – Japan and Germany have some of the best performing healthcare systems 

Recent analysis by ACA of data held by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development and the Commonwealth Fund about the healthcare systems of G20 members reveals which countries are driving healthcare innovation and which are underperforming in certain areas. The study examines factors such as the percentage of publicly funded healthcare, the percentage of GDP spent on healthcare and the number of beds and nurses available in each country.Japan has the highest percentage of publicly funded healthcare (84%), which is significantly higher than the OECD average of 72 percent. The role of the state in providing healthcare services outstrips many other developed countries. Japan is closely followed by the UK (83%), Italy (78%), Germany (77%), and Turkey (77%).

The USA (48%) and Brazil (46%) were the two countries with the lowest figures for public finance. Brazil’s low funding could in part be down to its public health system run by Rio’s state government reaching breaking point at the end of last year after authorities admitted to a budget shortfall, which was blamed on the drop in oil revenue.

The USA is the number one country when it comes to healthcare as a percentage of GDP (17.1%) and health care spending far exceeds that of other high-income countries. Available cross-national pricing data suggests prices for healthcare are notably higher in the U.S., potentially explaining a large part of the higher health spending.

France has the second highest healthcare spend as a percentage of GDP (11.5%) and Germany the third (11.3%). Turkey and Mexico were the G20 countries with the lowest percentages (5.4%) and (6.3%). The UK was in eighth position (9.1%).

Whilst the UK has ranked well for public funding and its GDP percentage, it was less successful when it came to other areas. The UK was in the bottom five for the number of available hospital beds (261 beds per 100,000 people). The countries that ranked lower were Canada (258), South Africa (231), Brazil (229) and Mexico (152).

The UK was also in the bottom five for the number of nurses having only 300 nurses per 100,000 people. The only two countries with lower results were Turkey (248) and Mexico (244). The shortfall could be attributed to the cuts in the numbers of training places in each year under the coalition government. A recent report revealed the NHS is facing such a chronic shortage of British nurses that one in four had to be recruited from abroad in 2015.

In contrast, Japan fared particularly well in these sectors coming first place for the most hospital beds (1317 per 100,000) and third place for the number of nurses (1081 per 100,000). Other countries that performed well included Germany (fourth position for hospital beds and first position for number of nurses) and France (fifth and fourth positions).

ACA’s Director of Operations James Ware commented on its latest findings by saying:
“Our analysis reveals the UK stands out as a top performer in most categories except for healthcare outcomes, where it ranks near the bottom of results. We hope the latest G20 summit will help to accelerate addressing some of the UK’s key healthcare issues. It’s also interesting to see how well countries such as Japan and Germany fare in several categories.”

The above healthcare data was taken from the following data sets; theOrganisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, the World Health Organisation and the Commonwealth Fund and all GDP and population figures are taken from the World Bank. The data sets are relative of 2015 which at the time of publishing is the most recent data consistently available for all countries.

The country’s chosen were representative of those selected to participate in theG20 summit, as these represent the largest global economies. However, not allcountries have been included, due to data sets not being publicly available or from a credible source.

To fairly compare certain statistics such as the number of nurses and number of hospital beds, these figures were standardised relative to the population of the given country, to show figures comparative to every 100,000 members of the given economy.

One Reply to “UK healthcare system falls short in comparison to other G20 countries”

  1. I do find it slightly irritating when you find research such as this which I could utilize for my own research into the current NHS, reach the end of the piece and find there’s no link to the source. Please can you provide the details for the originator of this piece so I can contact them.

    Regards, David.

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