International health systems compared by King’s Fund & ABPI

The King’s Fund & The ABPI compare international health systems in a new report, looking at hospital care, efficiency & the impact of an ageing population

The King’s Fund has published an independent report commissioned by the ABPI comparing international health systems. 

London-based Think Tank The King’s Fund aims to improve healthcare across England and aims to build better policies and practises with research and analysis. This research is one such example of its work. 

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) works to develop the UK’s healthcare development and research, as well as uses for new medicines. The ABPI works in partnership with the UK Government and the NHS to transform healthcare delivery across the UK.

Results from the report showed: 

The UK

The UK is beset with below-average health spending per person, compared to its peers. 

The country also has less physical resources, such as MRI scanners and most crucially, hospital beds. The UK is strongly reliant on foreign-trained staff. 


The largely decentralised German healthcare system is proud of its low-waiting times, but is facing the challenge of a growing elderly population.


Efficiency-obsessed Singapore uses technologies for real-time knowledge of capacity in and to keep tabs on where patients and equipment are. This helps housekeeping staff know where they need to clean and prepare for the next patient. 

However, Singapore is also concerned about its rapidly ageing population and how to contain the growing demand for senior healthcare. 

Mortality chart

Figure 28: The UK has higher avoidable mortality rates than its peers

Optimal management for hospitals can achieve better healthcare

Brian Duggan, Strategic Partnerships Policy Director at the ABPI, said he was not surprised that British patients were missing out.

"Given the UK’s low spending on medicines and slow adoption of innovative treatments, we get poorer outcomes on avoidable mortality and hospital admissions for treatable diseases. If the NHS is to successfully prevent and treat disease and deliver the best possible standards of care for patients, better use of medicines must be part of the strategy.”

Healthcare expert Mark Britnell commented that as the NHS reaches its 75th anniversary, the occasion should be a moment for reflection. 

“As a member of the Kings Fund board, I’m pleased to commend this excellent comparative analysis of health system performance across 18 countries.”

Sir Muir Gray, Director of The Goldster Club, said that more of the same was not enough. 

“We need to make it clear that self-care is the most important type of healthcare for prevention and for the optimal management of long term conditions. These objectives need to be achieved by the development of a digital therapeutic community for people in their 60s and beyond of course about 20% are not yet online, but if those who are online are enabled to take action then the NHS can concentrate on those who are not and who usually are also affected by many other factors notably deprivation.”


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