QualityWatch: UK faces ‘mountain to climb’ in improving care quality, new comparative study finds

The UK can and should do better in preventing unnecessary hospital admissions and improving survival from some of the biggest killer diseases, a new report comparing performance across high-income countries reveals today.

Press Release

Published: 03/07/2015

The UK can and should do better in preventing unnecessary hospital admissions and improving survival from some of the biggest killer diseases, a new report comparing performance across high-income countries reveals today. 

Focus on: international comparisons of healthcare quality, published by the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation, is one of the most comprehensive studies yet to compare the quality of care in the UK health system with that of similar countries over time. It shows that the UK’s performance has improved on almost every measure since the start of the millennium. However, it also finds that the UK lags behind most other countries (where data are available) in several areas of care, including higher rates of preventable hospital admissions, lower cancer survival and higher mortality rates from heart attacks and strokes. 

The report is based on analysis of 27 care quality indicators in up to 15 OECD countries between 2000 and the last year for which data are comparable (usually 2011 or 2012). The indicators examined present a broad look at health system performance across primary care, hospital care and highly specialist care, such as for cancer. Taken together they offer a starting point for much-needed work to understand better the reasons for variation between countries. 

To read the full press release, including key findings and spokespeople’s comments, please visit the dedicated QualityWatch website.