Happy New Year – I hope 2018 proves to be a successful, healthy and prosperous year for all!
As has become usual at this time of year, this week’s news in the UK is dominated by the debate on the adequacy of funding for the National Health Service. Helpfully, the OECD published an extensive report last year (http://www.oecd.org/health/health-at-a-glance-19991312.htm) which enables us to compare the UK’s healthcare funding with other developed nations.
The UK is the 17th largest spender on healthcare amongst the 35 OECD members, spending £244 per person per month. This is 9.7% of GDP compared with 10.5% in the Netherlands, 10.3% in Canada, 9.4% in Finland and 8.9% in Italy.
For that sum, the UK is 22nd in life expectancy, 24th in infant mortality and 18th in probability of dying prematurely due to a non-communicable disease. Direct comparisons are not straightforward, but in terms of funding the UK is not an outlier. The UK spends more than the OECD average of £233, albeit less than similarly wealthy countries such as France (£268), Australia (£274) and Germany (£323).
So given overall healthcare spending in the UK is not significantly lower than in many other countries, while more money is always going to be helpful, it looks like this problem also requires other solutions.