Reaction to the Commonwealth Fund study

Commenting on the publication of the Commonwealth Fund, Kate Andrews, News Editor at the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“Despite the UK ranking 1st overall, a closer look at the Commonwealth Fund study illustrates that the NHS is far from being the ‘envy of the world’ when it comes to patient outcomes.

“The NHS ranks 10th out of 11 in the healthcare outcomes category; in this sense, the study is roughly in line with other international comparisons of healthcare system performance, which show the UK ranking in the bottom third – on par with the Czech Republic and Slovenia.

“The UK has one of the highest rates of avoidable deaths in Western Europe, and tens of thousands of lives could be saved each year if NHS patients with serious conditions such as cancer were treated by social health insurance systems in neighboring countries, such as Belgium and Germany. And it is not just low income earners who receive poor care; the NHS’s provision of care is equally poor for everybody, irrespective of income.

“While it’s tempting to use the Commonwealth Fund study as an excuse to sweep the NHS’s failures under a rug, the study itself highlights that we have a lot to learn from other systems when it comes to patient care. Unfortunately, it seems processes of care are regarded as an end in themselves, not a means to achieve good health outcomes. Reform, for the patient’s benefit, cannot come soon enough.” 


Notes to editors:
For media enquiries please contact Nerissa Chesterfield, Communications Officer: nchesterfield@iea.org.uk 020 7799 8920 or 07791 390 268

In 2016 the IEA published ‘Universal healthcare without the NHS’. To download this report please click here.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems and seeks to provide analysis in order to improve the public understanding of economics.

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