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Arch Hellen Med, 22(1), January-February 2005, 73-96


The British health system

1Department of Health Economics and Social Policy, University of Athens
2Department of "State and Social Policy", Direction of Social Policy, Athens, Greece

The purpose of this paper is to present the National Health Care System in the United Kingdom (UK), as it is the most representative example of the Beveridge National Health Care Model. This analysis focuses on the basic reforms and the organizational structure of the UK health care system, which have taken place after the Beveridge report in the mid-20th century. The paper refers to the health status of the UK population through the evolution of the most representative health indicators: (a) Life expectancy at birth, (b) age dependency ratio, (c) potential of years of life lost (PYLL), (d) infant mortality per 1,000 live births, (e) standardized mortality rate, and (f) health care resources (beds, nurses, physicians). As most European health care systems nowadays depend for their viability, effectiveness and efficiency on the financing, the evolution of the health expenditure in the UK is presented and in particular the composition of the health and in particular expenditure, in order to investigate the state's contribution to the development of the health system. In addition regression analysis between health expenditure and income is carried out. This analysis supports the hypothesis that the private health sector expansion rate is higher than that of the public sector and that health in the UK is considered as a luxury goods (b>1).

Key words: Financing, Health care reform, Health expenditure, Health indicators, National Health System, Organization, Structure.

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