The US and UK lagged far behind other leading nations in a new global healthcare report.
Although both nations are seen as world leaders, they each scored disappointingly low marks in regards to quality of care.
America landed in a dismal 35th slot, sparking a researcher to call his homeland an ’embarrassment’ and the UK was not too far ahead at number 30.
At No. 1 for the first worldwide study was tiny Andorra, which sits between Spain and France, andAustralia was among the top 10 coming in sixth place.
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Although the US and UK are known as world leaders, they each scored disappointingly in regards to quality of care offered to citizens. America landed in a dismal 35th slot and the UK was at number 30. Pictured: Map of the healthcare access and quality ratings
The study looked at 195 nations and assessed countries for health care quality and access, ranking them 0 to 100.
Researchers created a Healthcare Access and Quality index based on numbers of deaths from 32 causes that could be avoided by ‘timely and effective’ medical care.
Dr Christopher Murray, a senior author and a director at the University of Washington, said: ‘America’s ranking is an embarrassment, especially considering the US spends more than $9,000 per person on health care annually, more than any other country.
‘Anyone with a stake in the current health care debate, including elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels, should take a look at where the US is falling short.’
Among nations with more than a million souls, after Andorra, top honors for 2015 went to Switzerland, followed by Sweden and Norway.
Also in the top ten were Iceland (No. 2), Finland (No. 7), Spain (No. 8) the Netherlands (No. 9) and banking center Luxembourg rounded out the first 10 finishers, according to a comprehensive study published in the medical journal The Lancet.
Of the 20 countries heading up the list, including France (No. 15), all but Australia and Japan (No. 11) are in western Europe, where virtually every nation boasts some form of universal health coverage.
Of the 56.4 million deaths worldwide in 2015, more than half (54 percent) were due to the top 10 causes.
Here are the top 10 causes of death in the world for 2015:
1. Ischaemic heart disease
3. Lower respiratory infections
4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
5. Trachea, lung and bronchus cancer
7. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias
8. Diarrhoeal disease
10. Road injury
Professor Martin McKee, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who co-led the study, said: ‘The UK has made consistent progress since 1990, but with a score of 85, it now lags behind many of its European neighbors, including Finland, Sweden, Spain and Italy, all of which have health systems very similar to the British NHS and so are most directly comparable.
‘The gap between what the UK achieves and what it would be expected to, given its level of development, is also wider than in other western European countries.’
The Healthcare Access and Quality Index tracked progress in each nation compared to the benchmark year of 1990.
Virtually all countries improved over that period, but many – especially in Africa and Oceania – fell further behind others in providing basic care for their citizens.
With the exceptions of Afghanistan, Haiti and Yemen, the 30 countries at the bottom of the ranking were all in sub-Saharan Africa, with the Central African Republic suffering the worst standards of all.
Dr Murray said: ‘Despite improvements in healthcare quality and access over 25 years, inequality between the best and worst performing countries has grown.
Furthermore, he added in a statement, the standard of primary care was lower in many nations than expected given levels of wealth and development.
The biggest underachievers in Asia included Indonesia, the Philippines, India and tiny Brunei, while in Africa it was Botswana, South Africa and Lesotho that had the most room for improvement.
Regions with healthcare systems under-performing relative to wealth included Oceania, the Caribbean and Central Asia.
Among rich nations, the worst offender in this category was the United States, which tops the world in per capita healthcare expenditure by some measures.
The gap between actual and expected rating widened over the last quarter century in 62 of the 195 nations examined.
‘Overall, our results are a warning sign that heightened healthcare access and quality is not an inevitable product of increased development,’ Dr Murray said.
Between 1990 and 2015, countries that made the biggest improvements in delivering healthcare included South Korea, Turkey, Peru, China and the Maldives.
The 32 diseases for which death rates were tracked included tuberculosis and other respiratory infections; illnesses that can be prevented with vaccines (diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and measles); several forms of treatable cancer and heart disease; and maternal or neonatal disorders.