The NHS has been one of the UK institutions hit hardest by the adoption of the government's austerity policy in 2010, mostly affecting marginalised groups. The coronavirus pandemic further amplified these issues, with pressure on staff and infrastructure rising to historical levels. In 2021, the spending cuts and problems arising from COVID-19 have finally caught up with the healthcare system as our chart shows.
According to a study by think tank Commonwealth Fund analysing the healthcare systems of 11 high-income countries, the United Kingdom lost its number one spot compared to an earlier edition of the report from 2017 and slipped down to 4th place. Concerning health core outcomes such as infant mortality and cancer survivability, the UK came in ninth with only Canada and the US ranking worse. When asked about the drop by The Guardian, Siva Anandaciva, chief analyst at the King’s Fund health think tank, blamed the result on waiting times for treatments: "Our previously world-beating health service is at risk of moving to the middle of the pack, largely due to growing delays across the system in people’s ability to access care quickly. We can’t brush this under the carpet as being solely a consequence of the impact of the pandemic on patients, staff and services."
Australia had the highest score in health care outcomes and equity, while people in the Netherlands were shown to have the best access to care and the Norwegian healthcare system scored top marks in administrative efficiency. The Mirror, Mirror report is released irregularly with 2017 and 2014 being the latest editions of the study.