UK tops 80-country study of ‘Quality of Death’ index
Britain topped an 80-country “quality of death” study released Tuesday, which warned that ageing and booming populations would make palliative care a growing worldwide issue.
The 2015 Quality of Death Index, compiled by the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit, found Britain to be the best at palliative care.
“Its ranking is due to comprehensive national policies, the extensive integration of palliative care into the National Health Service, a strong hospice movement, and deep community engagement on the issue,” the EIU said.
Britain was followed by Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Belgium and Taiwan.
Palliative care provision was found to be worst in Iraq among the 80 countries studied, with Bangladesh, the Philippines, Nigeria and Myanmar rounding out the bottom five.
The report praised progress made by less wealthy states.
“Many developing countries are still unable to provide basic pain management due to limitations in staff and basic infra- structure,” it said.
“Yet some countries with lower income levels demonstrate the power of innovation and individual initiative.”
It said Panama (31st) was building palliative care into its primary care services, Mongolia ( 28th) had seen rapid growth in hospice facilities, while Uganda (35th) had made impressive advances in the availability of opioid painkillers.
Mainland China (71st) was found to be among the most vulnerable from population ageing and rising incidences of conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
“The adoption of palliative care in China has been slow, with a curative approach dominating healthcare strategies,” the study found.
“Many other developing countries will also need to work hard to meet rising future need as the incidence of non-communicable disease increases and their populations grow older,” the report said.
The study found that income levels correlated strongly with success in delivering palliative care, though some, such as Singapore (12th), Hong Kong (22nd) and Saudi Arabia (60th), were lagging.