NHS “below average” in treating eight most common causes of death, report says

pharmafile | June 26, 2018 | News story | Manufacturing and Production, Medical Communications NHS, pharma 

The NHS’s 70th birthday is again marked as a bittersweet one as a new report from the Nuffield Trust highlights the service’s deteriorating ability to adequately treat common, life-threatening conditions such as heart attacks, cancer and strokes.

The report, titled How good is the NHS?, argues that the NHS’s current performance in these areas place it as “below average” compared to analogous services in eight out of the twelve most common causes of death. However, the report also noted that the service receives less funding than comparable services in 18 nations also examined.  

“We run a health system with very scarce resources in terms of staff and equipment and achieve poor outcomes in some vital areas like cancer survival,” said Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive of the Nuffield Trust think tank.

The NHS also had consistently higher deaths at birth or in the first month of life.

Several qualities of the service were praised though, such as its ability to provide “unusually good financial protection” from the impact that ill-health can have on patients, as well as its overall efficiency. It also performed better in kidney disease in terms of diabetes and transplants by preventing amputations. Suicide rates were also lower.

The analysis is one of five such reports to mark the NHS’s 70th year on 5 July, and was constructed in cooperation with experts from the King’s Fund, Health Foundation and Institute for Fiscal Studies. It argued that it was plausible that low levels of funding have led to fewer resources as an explanation for the lagging performance, with just over £3,100 per person per year spent on the NHS, compared to an average of £3,500.

Matt Fellows

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