The UK leads the world in palliative care according to a new international study, with its “strong hospice movement” credited as one of the major reasons why.
Comparing the quality of end of life care in 80 countries across the world, the UK was ranked top in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s ‘2015 Quality of Death Index’, which is based on extensive research and interviews with more than 120 global palliative care experts.
The UK came out ahead of Australia and New Zealand in second and third, with Germany and the United States ranked seventh and ninth respectively. The study praised the UK’s comprehensive national policies, strong hospice movement, the extensive integration of palliative care into the NHS, and deep community engagement on the issue as the main driving forces behind its success.
Based on assessments of affordability, quality of care, staffing numbers and skills, and the quality of hospital and hospice environments, the UK scored 93.9 out of 100, receiving top marks for affordability and quality of care. However the investigation warned against complacency, predicting that care is likely to be stretched in the future by an ageing population and the increasing demands relating to diseases such as cancer, dementia, and diabetes.
In the previous Quality of Death Index study carried out in 2010, the UK once again took first place, although the investigation only compared 40 countries and used different assessment criteria.