UK warned over common diseases

10 July 2015 09:25

The NHS is lagging behind health services in other countries, data suggests

The NHS is lagging behind health services in other countries, data suggests

The UK should be doing better at reducing preventable hospital admissions and improving survival from common diseases, claims a report.

Cancer survival compared with other leading countries is poor, according to the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation, while the number of people going to hospital with conditions such as asthma remains relatively high.

Citizens in the UK also appear to have a significantly lower chance of surviving a heart attack than those in Scandinavian countries, they said.

'Mountain to climb'

There were 61 hospital admissions per 100,000 of the population for conditions like asthma in 2011, significantly more than 13.6 in Canada and 11.4 in Italy.

The NHS is said to be lagging behind health services in other countries when it comes to reducing the number of people dying from heart attacks, with 10% of people over the age of 45 dying after 30 days, compared to 8.2% in Norway and 8.4% in New Zealand.

It also has a higher death rate for common cancers, despite recent advances in treatment.

Nuffield Trust chief executive Nigel Edwards says the UK has a "mountain to climb" if it is to improve.

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Cancer screening

The report, which was based on analysis of 27 care quality indicators in up to 15 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries between 2000 and 2011 or 2012, was not all bad news.

It says the UK has an "excellent" performance on cancer screening, with more than three quarters of 50 to 69 year-old women being screened for breast cancer, while it performs better than other countries in achieving high flu vaccination rates and lower antibiotic prescribing rates.

Overall performance showed signs of improvement on most measures in the analysis.

But Mr Edwards admits he is worried by the findings.

He says there is a long way to go in reducing preventable hospital admissions and improving survival from common killer diseases.

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