News

08.05.18

NHS has one of lowest levels of doctors and nurses in western world

The UK has fewer doctors and nurses per head than almost any developed country, new figures have revealed.

The King’s Fund analysed data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), comparing healthcare spending across 21 countries.

According to the figures, the only country with fewer doctors and nurses per capita is Poland.

The UK has 2.8 doctors and 7.9 nurses per 1,000 population - both below the average for the countries looked at.

The average number of doctors per 1,000 population is 3.6, with Austria having 5.1 and the average number of nurses is 10.1. Switzerland has 18 nurses per 1,000 - over twice as many as the UK.

The UK also has fewer hospital beds per head than most other countries besides Denmark and Sweden, with 2.6 beds per 1,000, as well as fewer residential care beds.

Bed levels in the UK are similar to Canada and New Zealand, but well below the average of 4.4 beds per 1,000.

While lower numbers of hospital beds can be a sign of efficiency, the King’s Fund warns that the growing shortage of beds in UK hospitals suggests that “bed reductions in the NHS may have gone too far.”

However, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) argues that bed numbers are not an accurate marker for good care, with improvements in treatment meaning that good care does not necessarily require lengthy hospital stays.

In addition, the UK has fewer magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scanners in relation to its population than any country analysed.

Although they say the data should be treated with caution, the authors say that “it is clear that the UK lags a long way behind other high-performing health systems in investing in these important technologies.”

Under the OECD’s new definition of health spending, the UK spends 9.7% of its gross domestic product (GDP) on health care, which, while in line with the average among the countries looked at, is significantly less than countries such as Germany, France and Sweden, which spend at least 11% of their GDP on health care.

The Fund warns that this analysis reveals a picture of an under-resourced NHS compared to other countries and that it “lags a long way behind other high-performing health systems in many key areas of health care resources.”

Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at the King’s Fund, said: “If the 21 countries were a football league then the UK would be in the relegation zone in terms of the resources we put into our healthcare system.

“The UK is consistently below average in the resources we give the NHS relative to countries such as France and Germany.”

A DHSC spokesperson said that an independent think tank had ranked the NHS as “the best and most efficient health service in the world.”

They added: “As this analysis shows - spending on the NHS is in line with other European countries but it fails to acknowledge that funding is actually at record levels - £1.6billion is being invested in 2018/19, on top of a planned £10billion a year increase in its budget by 2020/21, with an extra £2billion and a further £150million for social care this year.”

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest news

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

editor's comment

26/06/2020Adapting and Innovating

Matt Roberts, National Health Executive Editorial Lead. NHE May/June 2020 Edition We’ve been through so much as a health sector and a society in recent months with coronavirus and nothing can take away from the loss and difficulties that we’ve faced but it vital we also don’t disregard the amazing efforts we’ve witnessed. Staff have gone above and beyond, whole hospitals and trusts have flexed virtually at will to meet demand and pressures and we’ve... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Adopting intelligent automation technology in the health service

06/08/2020Adopting intelligent automation technology in the health service

Darren Atkins, Chief Technology Officer (Artificial Intelligence & Automation), East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust featured on Episode 11 of NHE’s Fin... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar

back

August 2020

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 1 2 3 4 5 6

featured articles

View all News