Warning on disease survival rates

Warning on disease survival rates

The UK has a "mountain to climb" in reducing preventable hospital admissions & improving survival rates for usual diseases, a report has warned.

The number of people going to hospital with conditions such as asthma remains relatively high, with 61 admissions per 100,000 population in 2011, compared to 13.6 in Canada & 11.4 in Italy, the report published by the Nuffield Trust & the Health Foundation found.

While the country has made headway in reducing the number of people dying from heart attacks in recent years, it still lags behind the five other countries where data are available, the report said, with 10% of people over the age of 45 dying after 30 days compared to 8.2% in Norway & 8.4% in New Zealand.

The UK moreover has a higher death rate for usual cancers, although it was found to have an "excellent" performance on cancer screening, with more than three quarters of 50-69 year old women being screened for breast cancer.

It performs better than other countries in achieving high flu vaccination rates & lower antibiotic prescribing rates, yet has a higher mortality rate from usual strokes caused by a blood clot than most other countries where figures are available.

The charities said the findings were based on analysis of 27 care quality indicators in up to 15 Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) countries between 2000 & 2011 or 2012.

Nuffield Trust chief executive Nigel Edwards said: "Interpreting international data on healthcare systems is notoriously tricky, & any comparisons should be handled with care. However, it is clear from this analysis that the UK can & should do better.

"Our poor performance on cancer survival compared with other leading countries is well-known & continues to be a concern. It is moreover worrying that a UK citizen appears to have a significantly lower chance of surviving a heart attack than a Scandinavian one.

"We enter the new parliament with a mountain to climb in reducing preventable hospital admissions & improving survival from usual killer diseases, all at a time of continuing austerity affecting public services."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "This report shows we've made significant progress in quality across the board. The NHS is already perhaps the most equitable system globally & we are now focusing on tackling preventable conditions like obesity & type two diabetes.

"The superior cancer screening the Nuffield Trust highlights has helped survival rates reach record highs & by investing £8 billion to create a truly seven-day service by 2020, we'll continue to reduce mortality & improve patient care."

Source: “Press Association”