The UK has topped the charts in the Quality of Death Index 2015 report on the best place to receive palliative care. The report took in a data set of 80 countries and is based on extensive research and interviews with more than 120 palliative care experts from around the world.
The report highlights the positive performance of wealthier countries in the report as would be expected but also shines light on the efforts of countries further down the wealth scale and efforts they have made to improve palliative care. The reason for the UK’s top ranking is due to the highly developed system of care that has developed in the country championed more recently by the Dying Matters Coalition, which was set up by the National Council for Palliative Care. Both organisations were praised for their efforts to get the sector and the public more generally to speak more openly about end-of-life care.
The report also looked into the affordability of end of life care and found that patients in the UK contributed up to 20% of the cost of their care. For countries such as the US where healthcare is not free at the point of service contributions by patients was far higher and this resulted in a lower rating in the report. The report also made reference to the cost savings that can be achieved by delivering good end of life care throughout the care system.
The report did caveat that there is still room for improvement even for the UK and reflected the nature of critiques of care provision more generally. Any such discussion around the quality of care centres around the continual pursuit of excellent care not care that is simply adequate.