The best road to improving our health system is to invest in the model we have Health Foundation response to Civitas International Health Care Outcomes Index 2022

27 April 2022

Responding to the publication of Civitas' International Health Care Outcomes Index 2022, Tim Gardner, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, said:

‘Comparing health systems in different countries is notoriously difficult and should always be interpreted with caution. This report fails to capture several key areas where the UK performs well by comparison. For example, the NHS provides a very high degree of financial protection from ill health, is relatively efficient compared to other systems and does very well in managing several long term conditions that cause disability but not death. 

‘While the NHS made some significant improvements in performance prior to the pandemic, including in survival rates for breast and colon cancer, the UK still lags behind in some key disease areas. But access to high quality health care is only one factor among several that determine our health. Life expectancy in the UK has stalled over the past decade, and there is only so much that the NHS can do to mitigate the wider social and economic factors responsible for this. The NHS has also sustained many years of underinvestment and understaffing, coping with significantly fewer doctors, nurses and hospital beds than virtually all of the countries featured in these rankings. Our spend per head is far closer to the bottom of the table than the top. 

‘Our polling shows that, after two gruelling years of COVID, the public is understandably concerned about the state of the NHS, but support for the founding principles of the NHS is strong. There is no credible evidence that most people want radical change. The best road to improving our health system is to invest in the model we have.'

Media contact

Simon Perry
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