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Health in France

Study Confirms Quality of French Healthcare

Tuesday 16 September 2008

A new American study confirms France as having the best system of healthcare in the world.

The study was undertaken by the US private charity 'The Commonwealth Fund', whose aim is to promote a high performing healthcare system in the USA.

As part of this mandate, the charity undertook an international comparative study of healthcare systems in the major industrialised nations, focussing on the notion of ‘preventable mortality’ - deaths that might have been prevented by timely and efficient healthcare.

Amongst the 19 nations studied, France came in first place, with 65 deaths per 100,000 population, ahead of Japan (71), and Australia (71). By comparison, the USA had 110 deaths per 100,000 population, whilst the United Kingdom with 103/100,000 came in 16th place.

The study also measured the life expectancy of someone age 60 years of age. At this age a French female had a life expectancy of 20 years, just behind Japan (22 years) in first place, whilst a French male had a life expectancy of 17 years, once again just behind Japan (18 years).

France was also in second place in terms of the level of national income that it devoted to healthcare, spending around 10% of GDP on health. Indeed, recent figures from the French Government show this has gone up to nearly 11% of GDP.

Nevertheless, the study suggested that the level of expenditure was not the only factor in the equation, for the USA spent 15% of GDP on health, yet had results that were often falling short on many indicators. Indeed, in relation to preventable mortality, it came in last place.

The study also confirmed France as having one of the most bureaucratic systems on the planet, spending no less than 6.9% of its health budget on administration. Only the USA spent more, at 7.5%, whilst the United Kingdom spent 3.3% of its health budget on administration.

The French Government have decided to introduce free screening for bowel cancer for those aged 50-74. A letter is being sent to all those who are eligible, who should present themselves to their doctor for the test to be carried out. The test can be done every two years. Bowel cancer is the third most common form of cancer, after breast and prostate cancer

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