UK healthcare spending 40% more than EU average

The UK spends 40% more on healthcare than the EU average, according to the State of Health in the EU report.

Although we spend more than the average on health care, our average life expectancy is not significantly higher than our neighbouring countries, who spend less.

Ireland in particular spent almost €4,000 on healthcare per person, compared to the €2,800 average, but again, their average life expectancy is only one year above the EU average, at 81.5 years.

The EU average life expectancy overall has increased by 6 years since 1990, but this could have something to do with the increased spending. A GP at Greenwich Burney Street practice said, “People are living longer, but this doesn’t necessarily mean they’re healthier in their longer years. A lot of elderly people have things like cancer and diabetes, which needs a lot of money to treat.”

“This is where another problem comes in, as sometimes treatments like that are under-funded because money is put in the wrong places.”

So why are we spending so much money? He continued, “our spending might be so high partly because smaller, local health and social care groups aren’t working properly with larger groups, so some money just gets spent in the wrong places.

“To spend less, we can improve primary care and community services, and tackle the problem in people misusing NHS services. In England especially, we have people calling ambulances after nights out when they just need a lift home, and people coming into A&E when they would be fine at a walk-in clinic.”

Video below from the European Commission: