UK does well on giving information to patients but poorly on access to new treatments

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 04 October 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:686
  1. Rory Watson
  1. Brussels

The United Kingdom ranks only 17th out of 29 countries in the latest edition of the Euro Health Consumer Index of public healthcare systems—one place behind Ireland and narrowly ahead of Italy and Portugal. It has slipped from 15th position last year.

The rankings, now in their third year, were produced by the Brussels based analysis and information organisation, Health Consumer Powerhouse. They are based on 27 indicators grouped into five categories—patients' rights and information, waiting times, outcomes, the generosity of public healthcare systems, and access to medication.

The UK, with its electronic patient records, quality ranking of hospitals provided by the Healthcare Commission, and 24 hour telephone healthcare information system provided by NHS Direct is in the forefront of patient access to information. However, it scores badly …

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