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The NHS is “crying out for investment,” say authors of study comparing 19 health systems

BMJ 2023; 381 doi: (Published 25 June 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;381:p1451
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London

The UK performs “substantially less well” than its peers on many critical measures of health status and healthcare outcomes, a study of 19 similarly developed countries has found.

It has below average cancer survival rates and life expectancy and “lags behind” in capital investment, with “strikingly low” numbers of doctors and nurses, relatively few hospital beds, and far less diagnostic equipment, says the analysis from the King’s Fund.1

But the NHS does not need a new funding model because it has “strong foundations” and some distinctive strengths, including the generally low cost of access and high generic prescribing rates.

Rather, it is “crying out for investment” and improvement, with better long term planning and political support, to prevent more people dying early from diseases, say the authors.

The study looked at the NHS and health systems in 18 other countries—Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the US. It examined the resources a health system has and how well it uses them, as …

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