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The King’s Fund report shows UK is underperforming on treatable health conditions

The King’s Fund have published an independent report, commissioned by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), comparing the NHS to other international health systems. It gives the NHS a mixed bill of health across a range of outcome measures1.

While the report shows the UK to have one of the lowest-cost and most efficiently run health systems in the world, it also found that the UK tends to have much poorer health outcomes than its peers, coming 16th and 18th respectively for preventable and treatable causes of mortality in a basket of 19 comparable countries2.

The report also shows that UK spending on medicines is the lowest among its peers, accounting for just 9% of the UK’s overall healthcare spend. This was the lowest proportion among eight other similar countries, including Italy 17%, Germany 17% and France 15%3.

While the report shows the UK performs reasonably well in speed of approval of new medicines for use in the NHS, separate Government data suggests that, all too often, eligible UK patients do not actually get the latest treatments they are entitled to. The UK has lower adoption of new medicines compared to the average of comparator countries. One year after a new medicine is launched, for every 100 patients who get it in similar countries across the world, only 58 eligible UK patients get the same treatment. This rises to 81 after five years4.

The report also shows a mixed performance on avoidable hospital admissions for long-term conditions. While the UK performs relatively well on avoidable hospital admissions for diabetes and heart failure, it performs poorly on those for asthma and COPD.

Brian Duggan, Strategic Partnerships Policy Director at the ABPI said: “Given the UK’s low spending on medicines and slow adoption of innovative treatments, it is not surprising that patients are missing out and we get poorer outcomes on avoidable mortality and hospital admissions for treatable diseases.

“If the NHS is to successfully prevent and treat disease and deliver the best possible standards of care for patients, better use of medicines must be part of the strategy.
“We know the NHS can do this. We saw it deliver the fastest roll-out of vaccines in history during the pandemic, as well as keeping essential medicines flowing to the people who needed them. This was done in partnership with industry and industry will continue to work with the NHS to help it meet the challenges of the next 75 years.”

References

1 ‘How does the NHS compare to the health care systems of other countries? by Siva Anandaciva

2 The Kings Fund ‘How does the NHS compare to the health care systems of other countries?’ Figure 28, p81, 2022.

3 The Kings Fund ‘How does the NHS compare to the health care systems of other countries?’ Figure 18, p57, 2022

4 Office for Life Sciences ‘Life Sciences Competitiveness Indicators’, Domestic market section, 2022

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Emma Cooper
Emma Cooper
Emma is Content Manager at Pf Media.

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