NHS 'less consumer-friendly' than Estonian health system

The British health system is less consumer-friendly than that of Estonia, according to a Brussels-based ‘do tank’.

Credit: iStockphoto/Stefan Klein

The UK was placed 13th in this year’s Euro Health Consumer Index, an annual league table published by Health Consumer Powerhouse. This is up by four places from last year’s rankings, but still sees the NHS trailing the healthcare systems of countries such as Belgium and Luxembourg.

The think tank said that, although the NHS was improving its use of the internet, its overall ranking remained ‘mediocre’.

‘The UK’s improvement in patients’ rights and information should be applauded,’ said Johan Hjertqvist, the Health Consumer Powerhouse’s president.

‘However, access - for both waiting times for treatment and uptake of modern drugs - remains a problem.’

Nigel Edwards, policy director at the NHS Confederation, said that the Index did not compare like with like. ‘The Euro Consumer Health Index should carry its own health warning,’ he said.

The Euro Health Consumer Index ranks 31 healthcare systems on six areas:

  • patient rights and information
  • e-health
  • waiting times
  • outcomes
  • pharmaceuticals
  • range and reach of services

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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