Wasting Lives: A statistical analysis of NHS performance

October 12, 2011 12:00 PM

Our new report examines mortality amenable to healthcare -- the number of deaths from certain conditions, and at certain ages, that healthcare can reasonably be expected to avert -- to compare NHS performance with that of three other European countries: the Netherlands, France and Spain.

We found that:

- In 2008, the latest year for which data is available, 11,749 more deaths occurred in the UK than would have if the UK had matched the average mortality amenable to healthcare rates of European peers.

- This is more than four times the total number of deaths from road accidents in 2008. It is equivalent to over 2,000 more deaths than those related to alcohol in 2008.

- The UK has caught up with its European peers at a nearly constant rate between 1981 and 2008. In that time there has been a huge increase in spending on healthcare since 1999. This suggests that money alone has no discernable effect on mortality rates.

- In the last two years studied (2007-2008) the UK's amenable mortality convergence relative to European peers was slower than the trend over the entire period. This suggests that relative improvements in mortality amenable to healthcare could be slowing.

This study confirms that the situation since our 2008 report has not improved. Over the last thirty years, there have been some incremental reforms to the NHS, and a period of huge increases in spending. Both have achieved largely the same results: the NHS still lags behind our European neighbours' systems. The NHS needs to be fundamentally reformed.

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