CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEYS are, alas, unsuitable for rating the quality of death. So the Economist Intelligence Unit, a sister group to The Economist, has devised a ranking of end-of-life care, published on Wednesday July 14th. It rates 40 mostly rich countries by how well they care for the dying. Britain tops the table.
For all the health care system’s faults, British doctors tend to be honest about prognoses, the mortally ill get plentiful pain killers and a well-established hospice movement cares for people near death. Countries such as Denmark and Finland rank lower because they concentrate more on preventing death than on helping people die without suffering pain, discomfort and distress.