In the Guardian yesterday, we read:
The NHS has lost its prestigious ranking as the best health system in a study of 11 rich countries by an influential US thinktank.
The UK has fallen from first to fourth in the Commonwealth Fund’s latest analysis of the performance of the healthcare systems in the nations it studied.
Eric Schneider, lead author of the Commonwealth Fund’s Mirror, Mirror 2021 report, said the UK had scored lower marks compared with 2017 on three of the five domains its panel of experts used: access to care; care processes, which look at the co-ordination of treatment and how well patients are involved; and equity, or the ability to obtain healthcare regardless of income.
He pinpointed the time taken to access care in the UK as a key factor in its ranking. “For example, nearly 60% of adults in the UK found it somewhat or very difficult to obtain after-hours care, one of the highest rates among the countries surveyed,” he said.
The study also found that while 78% of Britons in 2017 said that their regular doctor always or often answered a query on the day they posed it, just 65% did so this year. Similarly, while 57% in 2017 said they saw a doctor or nurse on the same or next day the last time they sought care, that has fallen to 52%
NHS England declined to comment. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We are committed to making sure the NHS has everything it needs to continue providing excellent care to the public, as we tackle the backlogs that have built up.
In 2015, after a previous report on GP satisfaction by the Commonwealth Foundation conflated the UK and England, I wrote to them and got breakdown data revealing a different picture in NHS Scotland:
I’ve written again, to Eric Schneider, involved then too, for clarification of their methods and for NHS Scotland data.