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UK has best “quality of death”

The UK has the best 'quality of 'death' according to a new report  published by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The study, which was commissioned by the Lien Foundation, measures the current environment for end-of-life care services across 40 countries.

[quote top=An EIU spokesperson explained]While 'quality of life' is a common phrase, 'quality of death' is considered far less often. Too many people, even in countries that have excellent healthcare systems, suffer a poor quality of death, even when death comes naturally. With this in mind we  devised the index to rank countries according to their provision of end-of-life care.[/quote]

The UK managed to achieve its top of the table status despite placing equal 28th in the Basic End-of Life Healthcare Environment sub-category. The UK, however, ranks first in the Quality of End-of-Life Care sub-category, which includes indicators such as public awareness, training availability, access to pain killers and doctor-patient transparency.

Many rich nations – including Denmark (22nd), Italy (24th) and South Korea (32nd) - lag  behind in the overall score. In these cases the quality and availability of care was often said to be poor, while policy co-ordination was also lacking. The bottom-ranked countries include, unsurprisingly, developing and BRIC countries, such as China, Brazil, India and Uganda, where progress on providing end-of-life care is slow.

The study was prompted by the fact that, according to the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance, while more than 100m patients and family care-givers worldwide need palliative care annually, less than 8% of this number actually receives it.