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NHS rated best healthcare system by US-based think tank

The NHS has been rated as the best healthcare system, from a survey of 11 countries by a US-based health think tank.

The Commonwealth Fund’s Mirror, Mirror 2017 report found that in general the UK achieves “superior performance compared to other countries”, and that it “excels in safety”.

However, in the area of health outcomes, the NHS ranked 10th, “despite experiencing the fastest reduction in deaths amenable to healthcare in the past decade,” the report stated.

The report used recent data to compare health care system performance in the United States with that of ten other high-income countries, including Canada, France, the Netherlands and New Zealand, and considered the different approaches to healthcare organisation and delivery that can contribute to top performance.

Researchers at the Commonwealth Fund based their analysis on 72 indicators that measured performance in five domains important to policymakers, providers, patients and the public, which were: care process, access, administrative efficiency, equity and health care outcomes.

Analysts revealed “striking variations” in performance across the domains. No country ranked first consistently across all domains or measures, “suggesting that all countries have room to improve,” the researchers found.

The United States, France and Canada scored lower than the 11-country average across most of the five domains, but all three achieved above-average performance on at least one domain: France on health care outcomes, Canada on care process and administrative efficiency, and the United States on care process.

Many of the results were determined from findings in Commonwealth Fund surveys carried out with both patients and clinicians, supplemented by outcomes data from the World Health Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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’s practical plan to improve cancer, mental health and other outcomes of care.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203212

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