Do US researchers know we exist?

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.

4 thoughts on “Do US researchers know we exist?

    1. ArtyHetty,
      I saw the article yesterday in the Guardian. I read it just to see if there was any mention of the 4 NHS entities in the UK but no. Then the comment at the end about NHS England rather suggested that the report focused on that entity taking it as representative of all 4 NHS groups. Certainly the journalist reporting the story seems to have taken it as NHS England otherwise known as ‘the NHS’.

      It will be interesting to see if John gets any feedback on whether the report covers NHS Scotland, Wales and NI as separate entities.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. What is also striking, beyond the obvious point you raise, is the DHSC hinting the reason is Covid… Not years of criminal underfunding and privatisation, not the added pressures of lost staff resulting from Brexit…

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The Commonwealth Fund’s website provides profiles of countries’ health care systems. These can be accessed here:

    You will note that there is a ‘UK’ and a separate ‘England’ entry indicated on the page although when clicking through to the actual profile, only that for England actually exists.

    The ‘International Health Care System Profiles: England’ is written by the Assistant Director, Policy at the The Health Foundation (a London-based organisation). The author has a habit of inserting UK statistics without qualification into what is a profile of healthcare in England.

    There is no mention of any distinction between ‘England’ and the ‘UK’ nor that the UK has four discrete health systems with separate governance!

    Liked by 2 people

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