Health

UK comes top on end of life care - report

  • 15 July 2010
  • From the section Health
The study looked at care in 40 countries

The UK has one of the best systems for end of life care, a global study says.

The analysis by the Economist Intelligence Unit looked at access to services, quality of care and public awareness in 40 countries.

It found the UK performed particularly well on issues such as obtaining pain killers and quality of support

Along with Australia, it received 7.9 out of 10, well ahead of nations such as Denmark, on 5.1 and Italy, on 4.4. India came bottom on 1.9.

The researchers, part of the group which publishes the Economist magazine, talked to health professionals in 40 countries as well as looking through official data.

They concluded access to drugs and carers were the two most pressing issues for all involved.

They also said that most health systems, no matter how well funded, relied to some extent on charities and philanthropic bodies to offer support to patients, particularly through networks of hospices.

David Praill, chief executive of Help the Hospices in the UK and co-chairman of the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance, said the result was "heartening" for the UK.

But he added: "The system is far from perfect and there remains huge disparity."

He also said urgent action was needed in those countries with the worst systems.

"Hospice and palliative care is still unavailable to many of those in need, especially in the developing world with millions of people dying in pain and distress every year."

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