Health & Lifestyle

NHS has fewer beds, scanners and doctors than other countries’ health services, report shows

NHS crisis laid bare in new report which shows it has fewer beds, scanners and doctors than other countries’ health services

  • King’s Fund research showed UK spends below average on healthcare per capita
  • It also said the NHS underperforms ‘significantly’ on life expectancy and cancer 

Our health service is failing to deliver world-leading care as it has fewer beds, scanners and doctors than many developed nations, a report warns today.

The UK also spends less than average on healthcare per person and ‘under-performs significantly’ on key outcomes such as life expectancy and cancer survival.

Researchers from The King’s Fund think-tank said their analysis shows the UK is ‘not by any means where we should be’ on these measures. 

They added the ‘much-loved British institution’ of the NHS ‘has sadly seen better days’.

The findings come ahead of the 75th anniversary of the NHS on July 5 when health leaders are planning to trumpet its achievements. 

Our health service is failing to deliver world-leading care as it has fewer beds, scanners and doctors than many developed nations, a report warns today. File photo of hospital ward

Our health service is failing to deliver world-leading care as it has fewer beds, scanners and doctors than many developed nations, a report warns today. File photo of hospital ward

The study examines healthcare in 19 countries – the original 15 European Union member states, excluding Luxembourg, plus the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

It found the NHS offers good protection from the ‘potentially catastrophic costs of ill health’ and is among the most efficiently run.

But it has ‘strikingly low levels of key clinical staff’ with fewer doctors and nurses and a heavier reliance on internationally trained workers. The UK has just three doctors per 1,000 people while Greece has 6.3.

Britain also comes last out of the 19 countries for the number of CT and MRI scanners per person.

Meanwhile this country has 2.5 beds per 1,000 citizens compared to an average of 3.2, placing it second last. In contrast, Germany has 7.9 beds per 1,000.

Of the countries assessed, the UK has among the lowest levels of life expectancy for men and women, with a notable decline since the Covid pandemic.

Britain also has higher levels of deaths from treatable diseases such as heart attack and stroke than most others and below average survival rates for many major cancers, such as breast and lung.

A Department of Health spokesman said up to £14.1billion is being invested to improve services and cut waiting lists.

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