UK second lowest across major health outcomes
Insider Insights

UK: International Health Care Outcomes Index ranks UK second lowest across major health outcomes 


The UK is ranked second to bottom across a series of major health outcomes including survival rates from cancer, strokes and heart attacks according to a major new comparison of global health systems. The study (by the Civitas think tank) ranks the performance of the UK health care system with that of 18 comparable countries since 2000 (or the earliest year for which data is available). The data is derived from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Health Statistics database.  

Across 16 major health outcomes the UK comes bottom of the league four times – more than any other country – and is ranked in the bottom three for eight out of 16 measures. Other key findings include: 

  • The UK is 10th out of 19 comparable countries for spending on its health system as a percentage of GDP. 
  • In 2019, the UK ranked 17th for life expectancy. UK life expectancy was 81.4 in 2019 compared to the average of 82.3 years.  
  • For strokes and heart attacks, the UK has the worst survival rates of comparable countries. 
  • Across five different types of cancer, the UK comes 16th out of 18 comparable countries:
    • The UK breast cancer five-year survival rate was 85.6% (15th out of 18) 
    • The UK colon cancer five-year survival rate was 60% (the lowest of 18 countries) 
    • The UK rectal cancer five-year survival rate of 62.5% was the 12th lowest of 18 countries.  
    • The UK lung cancer five-year survival rate of 13.3% was the 17th lowest out of 18. 
    • The UK stomach cancer five-year survival rate was 20.7% (17th lowest out of 18).  
  • For treatable diseases, the UK is second to bottom (15th out of 16).  
  • The only thing the UK tops the charts for is helping diabetics to avoid limb amputation. For every 100,000 people in the UK, on average 3.0 had a foot/leg amputation caused by diabetes in 2017, the best rate of 10 countries.  


  1., “US and UK health outcomes rank lowest in survey of 19 countries”, 27th April 2022 
  2., “International Health Care Outcomes Index 2022”, April 2022 

Stay in the know, subscribe to our newsletter

Be the first to receive exclusive content on the latest from the pharmaceutical and market access sector.