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New report shows that our previously world-beating NHS is slipping down the league table

The UK has fallen from first to fourth for overall performance as ranked by influential US healthcare think tank, Commonwealth Fund.

Here in Cambridgeshire our local health service is severely affected by staff shortages. The high cost of living here means our health providers struggle to recruit. A ‘Cambridge Weighting’ reflected this until 2010 when the Tory/Lib dem coalition removed it and though recruitment from the EU had filled this void temporarily, this too has now dried up.

We are lucky to have a specialist centre such as Addenbrookes on our doorstep. However the knock on effect is that problems experienced across the health service are compounded here as they struggle to discharge patients back to the regional hospitals, their bed shortages become our bed shortages!

The report compared health services across 11 rich countries.  The UK has now been overtaken by Norway, the Netherlands and Australia.  The United States was ranked by far the worst healthcare system despite spending the most.

The report is clear that four features distinguish the top performing countries from the bottom

  • Universal coverage without cost barrier
  • Primary care systems offering high-value services to all
  • Low administrative burdens that divert time and money from health improvement
  • Investment in social services, especially for children and working-age adults.

Gareth Wright, SE Cambridgeshire Labour Health Spokesperson said

“This can’t be blamed on Covid. All the other countries surveyed have had to deal with the pandemic too.”

“I am angry because the Conservative Government has consistently under-funded the NHS, and hit staff morale with unnecessary reorganisation and real-terms pay cuts. “

“They’ve presided over a massive rise in poverty – three out of 10 children are living in poverty – and this leads directly to more ill health.”

“Their answer seems to be to throw more money at the Private Sector. £37 billion to the firms running Track and Trace. £10 billion to Private Hospitals. Imagine what we could do with this extra money in the NHS. It would increase funds by around 30%.”

“I am sad because it doesn’t have to be like this.”




Report by the Commonwealth Fund.  Mirror, Mirror 2021: Reflecting Poorly




Spend on track and trace confirmed in the Public Accounts Committee



Spend on private hospitals



Child Poverty statistics



Underlying NHS funding is £159billion in 2021/22 https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/nhs-in-a-nutshell/nhs-budget

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