Poor quality health services ‘a drain on global resources’

5 Jul 18

Poor quality health services are increasing the number of avoidable illness cases and driving up health costs globally, a joint report has warned.

Mistakes and lack or training is evident in countries at all income levels around the world, the report by the OECD, World Health Organization and the World Bank said.

These mistakes include inaccurate diagnosis, medication errors, unnecessary or wrong treatment and unsafe practices, the report, published today, highlighted.

OECD secretary-general Angel Gurría said: “Without quality health services, universal health coverage will remain an empty promise.

“The economic and social benefits are clear and we need to see a much stronger focus on investing in and improving quality to create trust in health services and give everyone access to high-quality, people-centred health services.”

Sickness related to poor quality health care also imposes additional costs on families and health systems around the world, the report said.

The economic and social costs stemming from poor quality care are estimated to amount to trillions of dollars each year.

Around 15% of hospital expenditure in high-income countries is due to mistakes in care or patients being infected while in hospitals.

The situation is worst in low and middle-income countries, where 10% of hospitalised patients are estimated to get an infection during their stay, as compared to 7% in high income countries.

These infections could easily be avoided through better hygiene and use of antimicrobials, the report said.

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said: “Good health is the foundation of a country’s human capital, and no country can afford low-quality or unsafe healthcare.

"Low-quality care disproportionately impacts the poor, which is not only morally reprehensible, it is economically unsustainable for families and entire countries."

The report also found that healthcare workers in seven low and middle-income African countries were only able to make the correct diagnosis one third to three quarters of the time.

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