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NHS needs to invest more in cancer technology

According to a global survey of healthcare systems published in the journal The Lancet, the UK is only in 30th place in the world for access to and quality of healthcare. The global survey ranked countries by measuring mortality rates from causes that should not be fatal if effective medical care is available. Using the Healthcare Quality and Access (HAQ) Index score, which ranges from 0 to 100, the study found that the best healthcare access and quality in the world could be found in Andorra, which had a score of 95, closely followed by Iceland (94) and Switzerland (92).

In contrast, the UK had a score of 85, influenced partly by low performances in certain cancers. Articles published in the national press (The Telegraph and The Daily Mail) highlighted that the NHS is the worst performing healthcare system in Western Europe according to these rankings.

One of the study’s authors, Professor Martin McKee from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told The Daily Mail that “We have known for a long time Britain has fewer specialists per head of population compared to other Western European countries, and less investment in radiotherapy”.

The Lancet paper states that well-financed healthcare systems can invest in new medical technologies and programmes, which can drive an upward shift in healthcare quality and access. Indeed, this is in exact alignment with the MTG’s beliefs that appropriate use of medical technology can improve clinical outcomes and experiences of patients. On top of clinical benefits, the 2011 Work Foundation report that explored the economic and societal value of medical technology found that interventions such as hip replacement surgery can enable tens of thousands of people to return to work, thereby saving the UK welfare system millions of pounds per year.

The MTG hopes that with investment into medical technology and innovation, as well as improvements in infrastructure and public health policies, that the NHS will be able to move up from its current position in the global rankings, which will ultimately lead to better outcomes – and better quality of life – for patients and their carers.

June 2017

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