U.K. Best Place in the World to Die: Study

The United Kingdom is the best place in the world in which to die, according to a new study that examines end-of-life care in 80 countries.

The report, by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), ranked Australia second best and New Zealand third, followed by Ireland and Belgium. The U.S. came ninth in the index, while Taiwan is the highest Asian country placed sixth, with India and China ranked at 67th and 71st respectively. Iraq and Bangladesh finished bottom of the ranking.

The reasons for the U.K.'s high score include the integration of palliative care into the National Health Service (NHS), a strong hospice movement largely funded by the charitable sector, specialised staff and deep community engagement, leading the report authors to describe the U.K.'s care system as "second to none."

However, the report added that Britain is "still not providing adequate services for every citizen." The EIU also says the U.K.'s resources, like those of other countries, will be stretched in future due to an ageing population and the growth of non-communicable diseases including cancer, dementia and diabetes.

The report also found the some of the poorest nations had made significant progress, such as Mongolia and Uganda.

The rankings were based on assessments of the quality of hospitals and hospice environments, staffing numbers and skills, affordability of care and quality of care. Just 34 out of 80 countries provided what could be classed as good end-of-life care.