United Kingdom


The National Health Service (NHS) is the United Kingdom’s state run universal healthcare system. Residents of the UK receive full coverage for preventative care, primary care, and hospital care. There is a cost-sharing component for some pharmaceuticals and dental services. In 2008, public funds covered 83% of national health expenditure, with most of the funding coming from general taxation. Supplementary private health insurance options are available for those who prefer to have their choice of specialists, avoid long wait times, and receive greater quality of care.

The Department of Health is responsible for setting policy and monitoring the health system. In addition to the NHS, there is a small private sector, funded largely by private medical insurance and direct payments from patients. Some of the costs are also covered by a voluntary and community sector consisting of charitable organizations that operate on a combination of public funds and donations.

The population of people 65 and over in the UK was 10 million in 2011, and is increasing. According to research firm Ovum, the NHS spends 70% of its budget on this group. There is a trend towards greater usage of home healthcare products and technologies to provide care for this population in a cost effective way. Another healthcare subsector that is on the rise is personalized medicine. The subsector has seen an influx of funds to be used for a variety of research projects.

The UK has struggled in recent years with its budget deficit and the rising cost of healthcare. The National Health Service costs the nation $158 Billion a year. The government is considering options to bring these costs down, including greater privatization within the healthcare industry, which could benefit private providers.

  • Population:

    64.1 million(2013, World Bank)

  • GDP:

    $2,676 billion(2013, World Bank, USD)

  • Healthcare Spending:

    $252 billion(2013, Brocair estimate, USD)

  • Healthcare Spending as % of GDP:

    9.4%(2012, World Bank)

  • Annual Healthcare Spending Per Capita:

    $3,925(2013, Brocair estimate, USD)