UK GPs are performing well on detecting and preventing cardiovascular disease and particularly well on diabetes compared with GPs in other developed countries, an analysis has found.
‘The NHS: How does it compare?’ report by the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the UK 14 out of 30 OECD countries on disease outcomes, noting historically poor cancer outcomes were an issue, although they are improving.
However, it highlighted performance on CVD and GPs’ role in diabetes diagnosis as being particularly note-worthy.
Out of 46 countries surveyed, only four – Israel, France, Spain and Italy – had fewer CVD deaths per 100,000 than the UK, with 134 female deaths and 211 male.
But on diabetes the report notes the UK has a prevalence of 3.9% – lower than France, Germany and Japan.
It states: ‘[The UK] has one of the highest obesity rates in Europe, yet the prevalence of diabetes is still relatively low.’
The report adds: ‘Compared with other OECD nations, moreover, few UK people are diagnosed with diabetes in A&E, suggesting that GPs are doing a good job of detecting it first. The rate of long-term complications is also low.’
The report also found that the UK comes 28th out of 30 OECD countries when ranked on its resourcing of the health service, including staff and equipment.
It goes on to note that despite low numbers and long working hours, ‘self-employed’ GPs in the UK were some of the best remunerated in the world – earning 3.4 times the country’s average income, the highest of nine countries with comparable primary care systems.
The report says ‘wage restraint will be needed’ in future, and that plans to publish GP pay may also drive down wages.
But it said this could also impact recruitment, which both Labour and the Conservatives have pledged to increase should they win after this week’s general election.
It states: ‘Self-employed GPs may have high wages, but their relatively low numbers mean that their workload is heavy, and is getting heavier. Recruitment and training is already an issue, and too much wage restraint would put off new recruits.’