Britain may not be the best place to live, but it is the best place to die.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranked the country first in its latest quality-of-death index, which uses 20 quantitative and qualitative indicators to measure the effectiveness of end-of-life care in 80 countries. The measures include the the quality of palliative care, affordability, the health care environment, and community engagement.
How we die is becoming a critical topic as populations live longer, often with multiple diseases requiring complex (and costly) management. Developing countries in particular grapple with how to deliver basic pain relief to the dying. Some have seen notable improvements in recent years: Uganda has dramatically increased the availability of morphine through a public-private partnership between the health ministry and Hospice Africa, a British charity.
Not surprisingly, rich countries generally did better than poor ones in the rankings. But there are noteworthy variations: the US came in ninth place with a score of 80.8 (out of 100), far below the 93.9 score achieved by Britain, where complaining about health care is as popular as grumbling about the weather.