South Korea top of healthcare improvement table, Spain bottom

healthcare improvements league table

In a consumer survey of health systems, South Korea has improved the most in the last five years.

A recent study has put South Korea at the top of 15 nations in terms of health system improvements made in the last five years. The same league table ranks Spain as the least improved, according to consumer research.

The International Healthcare Report Card looked at 15 countries and measured patients perceptions on whether access and patient experience had improved in the last five years. Generally speaking, patients in all countries reported their experience and access to health care have improved in the last five years.

The countries showing the greatest improvement are South Korea, Argentina, Japan and Belgium. While at the other end of the table, Spain, Hungary, Italy and France are showing the least progress. The report gave each country a grade, similar to school, from A+ to F depending on their progress.

South Korea outranked all 14 other countries in every criteria, indicating people in South Korea view their health system as dramatically improved in the last five years. Conversely, Spain scored the lowest in every category. In particular, access to drugs (-47), specialists (-43) and tests (-39) in Spain have declined the most.

While the average score across all 15 countries was +130, Spain only managed a score of -372 points and was the only country to receive an F grade. In fact, European countries make up the bottom six healthcare systems. Sweden, often cited as an example of healthcare efficiency came in just below the UK in 11th place.

More than 12,000 people responded to the survey and were questioned on recent patient experience, receiving diagnoses, being referred to a specialist, being treated for urgent conditions and the access they and their household have to medical care.

On overall access to healthcare, the leading nations are South Korea (+53), Argentina (+35), Belgium (+20) and Australia (+17), and Germany (+15), which has moved up from the middle of the table to fifth place.

Spain’s position at bottom of the table may not come as a surprise to those following the news. Spain has featured heavily lately due to the strict austerity cuts, discussion of privatisation of health facilities and the refusal by some hospitals to accept the European Health Insurance Card.