The UK may be the best place to spend your last months, according to a study made by the National Health Service (NHS) that collected data from across 80 countries. Australia and New Zealand complete the top three.

The NHS researched hospitals, hospice environments and took into account staffing numbers and their skills, affordability and quality of the care provided by those places.

According to the WHO, palliative care is an approach that improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problem associated with life-threatening illness, through the prevention and relief of suffering by means of early identification and impeccable assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, physical, psychosocial and spiritual. Credit:

Annie Pannelay, author of the report, said to The Telegraph, “The UK is an acknowledged leader in palliative care. But there is more that the UK could do to stay at the forefront of palliative care standards, such as ironing out occasional problems with communication or symptom control.”

The study shows that only 34 of 80 countries provided a good care, not being good enough as they only represent 15 percent of the adult population. Countries like Ireland, Belgium, Taiwan, Germany, Netherlands and France appeared in the top ten list, showing that Europe is working harder in the matter. The U.S. is at number nine.

“While we recognise the great work that makes the UK a world leader in palliative care, we know from our own research that each year around 110,000 people are missing out on care that they urgently need,” said Simon Jones, from the Marie Curie center for palliative care to The Telegraph.

But Jones warns of the dangers of taking the usual business approach to the subject, causing even more people left out of the caring system in the UK, “One in five people who die in the UK are not getting the care they need. This quite simply is not good enough. With more people dying each year, the demand for compassionate palliative care will only increase,” he added. He remarks the importance of seeing this issue as a community, with “collective ambition”.

On the other hand, countries like Iraq, Bangladesh, China, the Dominican Republic, Iran and Guatemala are among the worst to take care of patients during their last days. China, with their one-child policy, has to make some changes in order to help people to take care for their parents and grandparents. However, countries like Uganda and Mongolia were praised for making efforts to invest in palliative care.

Ben Gummer, UK’s Health Minister, wanted to give the credit to the people working with passion and energy, and said it is encouraging to know that they are already providing world-leading care.

Nevertheless, he says that, “We are determined to go even further and are clear that doctors and nurses must always involve patients and families in decisions about their care, regularly review their treatment and make sure patients’ wishes are respected.”

Source: The Telegraph