United Kingdom: steady progress but renewed investment needed to advance outcomes

The United Kingdom spends less on health compared to many other Western European countries, yet the national health services function remarkably well overall. Many health outcome measures, such as amenable mortality, have improved in recent years due in part to public health initiatives and a general emphasis on improving the quality of care. However the marked reductions to health and social care budgets since the financial crisis call into question whether the United Kingdom can continue this progress. As it stands, health inequalities remain and the gap between the most deprived and the most privileged continues to widen, rather than close, despite universal access that is mostly free at the point of use. 

Similar to other countries, the United Kingdom faces a number of key challenges which it needs to address to further its performance. These include those posed by an ageing population, coupled with a rising burden of chronic diseases, growing expectations and technological advances against a background of increasing financial constraints and the need to ensure that resources are spent efficiently.