UK End-of-Life Care Ranked Best in the World
In a study of 80 countries, the UK has been found to have the best end-of-life care in the world. Researchers praised the quality and availability of the UK’s palliative care, calling it “second to none”.
Closely following the UK were Australia and New Zealand, ranked second and third respectively. Iraq and Bangladesh were the worst-performing countries.
Rich countries tended to appear higher on the study’s final rankings, compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit. However, the report also commented on the impressive progress made in some of the poorest countries. For example, Mongolia (ranked 28th) has invested in hospice facilities and Uganda (ranked 35th) has recently improved access to pain control.
End-of-Life Care: The Best and Worst Countries (Scores out of 100)
- UK (93.9)
- Australia (91.6)
- New Zealand (87.6)
- Ireland (85.8)
- Belgium (84.5)
- Taiwan (83.1)
- Germany (82)
- Netherlands (80.9)
- US (80.8)
- France (79.4)
- Iraq (12.5)
- Bangladesh (14.1)
- Philippines (15.3)
- Nigeria (16.9)
- Myanmar (17.1)
- Dominican Republic (17.2)
- Guatemala (20.9)
- Iran (21.2)
- Botswana (22.8)
- China (23.3)
The scores were based on assessments of the quality of hospitals and hospice environments, staffing numbers and skills, affordability of care and quality of care.
Report authors commented that only 34 out of the 80 countries included in the study provided what could be classed as good end-of-life care. Yet end-of-life care services are becoming more important than ever with the ageing population.
While the UK received top marks, experts stress that this is no reason for complacency and that there is still room for improvement.
“The UK is an acknowledged leader in palliative care,” says report author Annie Pannelay. “That reflects its comprehensive strategy towards the issue as well as the improvements that are being made. But there is more that the UK could do to stay at the forefront of palliative care standards, such as ironing out occasional problems with communication or symptom control.”
Health minister Ben Gummer says: “Thanks to our health and care staff and carers working tirelessly, it is very encouraging that we are already providing world leading end-of-life care. But we are determined to go even further, and are clear that doctors and nurses must always involve patients and families in decisions about their care, regularly review their treatment and make sure patients’ wishes are respected.”