Even when backed by clear evidence, new technologies and practices inch their way too slowly through the vast web of structures that make up the National Health Service. This is one of the reasons our standards often fall below those of comparable countries. Data collected by the World Health Organisation shows that premature deaths from causes that are preventable with prompt and effective healthcare are higher in the UK than Germany, Canada, Australia and France. A lack of MRI and CT scanners can lead to long waits for diagnostic tests, while shortages in radiotherapy equipment are a factor in our comparatively poor cancer treatment. Among European countries, the UK is consistently below average in the adoption of new drugs for the treatment of certain common cancers. And within Britain, too, there is an unjustifiably wide variation in outcomes of care.
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