Sunday, 18 September 2011

Figure of the day (1)

public spending on health in the UK and the US as a percentage of GDP in 2006: 7%
additional private spending in the UK: 1.5%
additional private spending in the US: 9%

(source: Nigel Crisp - Turning the World Upside Down)

Friday, 16 September 2011

Expert Comment - Outlook UN meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD)

Just found this very interesting comment from a Chatham House expert in my inbox. Dr Sudeep Chand is rather pessimistic on the upcoming high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCD). He argues that a more systemic view is needed, which looks beyond intermediary factors of habit and choice (which will probably dominate the agenda). Let's hope the right people read his comment.

Korean News

I mentioned in one of my last posts that I was interviewed by Korean journalists. Just got an email that the story is online. Unfortunately the story is in Korean and google translator makes a right mess out of it. They included a picture of me - not the most flattering one, so not worth checking it out for that. However, I'll still post the link,  just in case you can read Korean. And if you can read what they wrote about me, I'd be interested to hear what I am reported to have said :)

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

I know it's politics ...

... and I also know that you can't know everything. But I find such ignorant scaremongering absolutely irresponsible - especially if it comes from people who are dismiss solid scientific evidence which does not play to their agenda (climate change, evolution ...) as "believes".

TIME: Vaccination Causes 'Mental Retardation'? Fact-Checking Michele Bachmann's Claim

Read more:

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Comparing Health Care Systems

A friend of mine worked for a news agency in Korea. And a team of this agency is right now in Europe to research health care systems. So I agreed to talk to them. Now my research in the past 3 years gave me an in-depth insight into the UK system. However, my main focus was on how to improve the process by which services are designed. We talked a bit about the UK system but inevitably the Korean journalists were interested where I see the differences between the UK and the German health care system and which one performs better.

Very interesting question - and a rather tough one. While I lived in Germany I was in full-time education and insured with my parents, so my knowledge is restricted to what I picked up over the years from the news, conversations etc. I was quite sure that someone must have done that type of research and indeed I just stumbled upon a report from the independent Commonwealth Fund which compares the systems of Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

Summary of the summary: The Netherlands come first overall, followed by the UK in 2nd place. Germany comes 4th and the US last. Furthermore, the US are also last in 5 out of 6 dimensions. The one dimension where the US only are 2nd to last is Quality Care, here the Canadians are trailing the pack. Not all is bad though, the US are leading in preventive medicine and are strong when it comes to waiting times for more specialized care.

page v of "Mirror Mirror on the Wall" by the Commonwealth Fund

Also interesting that the two nations with the highest per capita health spending (US $7,290 and Canada $3,895) are last and second to last, respectively. The other countries spend between $2,454 (NZ) and $3,837 (Netherlands), whereby the UK, which overall ranked 2nd, had the 2nd lowest expenditure at $2,992.

The full report can be found here. Happy reading :)