International Health Care Outcomes Index 2022

Think tank: Civitas

Author(s): Tim Knox

April 27, 2022

This report from UK think tank Civitas provides a comparison of global health systems and how the UK fares.

A major new comparison of global health systems places the UK second to bottom across a series of major health care outcomes, including life expectancy and survival rates from cancer, strokes and heart attacks. This comparative study ranks the performance of the UK health care system with that of 18 comparable countries since 2000 or the earliest year for which data is available. It covers the level of health spending, overall life expectancy, the health care outcomes of the major diseases and the outcomes for treatable mortality and childbirth. The choice of comparator countries and the diseases studied follows the methodology used in a 2018 report published jointly by the Health Foundation, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust. Data is derived from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Heath Statistics database.

Across 16 major health care outcomes the UK comes bottom of the league four times – more than any other country – and is in the bottom three for 8 out of 16 measures. No other comparable country has such a poor record. The charts and tables are based on a straightforward ranking of health care outcomes enabling a direct comparison of the UK’s health system with its international rivals. According to the ‘International Health Care Outcomes Index’:

  • The UK is 10th out of 19 comparable countries for spending on its health system as a percentage of GDP. Putting us mid-table.
  • In 2019 the UK ranked 17th out of 19 comparable countries for life expectancy.
  • For strokes and heart attacks the UK has the worst survival rates of comparable countries
  • Across 5 different types of cancer measured by the OECD the NHS comes 16th out of 18 comparable countries.
  • For treatable diseases the UK is second to bottom – 15th out of 16. If we matched the average of other countries, we would save over 6,500 lives every year or 17 a day.
  • The only thing the UK tops the charts on is helping diabetics avoid limb amputation

The author of this study, Tim Knox said: “This index compares our health care outcomes with those in similar countries. It’s impartial and based on an established methodology and comparable data that is available to anyone, anywhere. The latest British Social Attitudes survey suggests that the British public is beginning to realise this. While they recognise that the doctors, nurses, porters and medical staff do an amazing job, people are starting to ask serious questions about how good our health system really is.”