British women are among the most at risk in Europe of dying prematurely, according to figures published today...
Premature death rates among women in Britain are on a par with those in Slovenia and Albania, a study has shown.
In fact, we are more likely to die early in Britain than in virtually every other western European country – and have been on a downward spiral over the past 40 years, with British women falling from 15th to 20th place in a league of 22.
The researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle admit they are unclear as to why UK women are slipping behind. Part of the explanation may lie in poorer survival rates from heart disease and cancer and lack of access to life-saving drugs and treatments.
Other research showed British women are dying in pregnancy and birth at the same rate as two decades ago, and at the same rate as women in Albania and Poland.
Men in the UK fare better, according to the worldwide analysis of mortality between 1970 and 2010. Their risk of dying before the age of 60 is typical of that for western Europe.
In the study, scientists calculated the chances of people who have just turned 15 dying before their 60th birthday, using census data and death records. The five countries with the lowest death rates for men and women today were Iceland, Sweden, Malta, the Netherlands and Switzerland.
Mark Wallace of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘It is alarming that Britain is sliding down these league tables so swiftly compared with other European countries. Medical science is constantly improving but other countries seem to be taking better advantage of new technology than us.
‘Given the vast amount of money we put into the NHS, Britain should be performing much better than this and it’s high time taxpayers got a better deal in return for their money. The most important measure of all is how long people actually live.’