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New Zealand has a generally high performing health system, which provides universal coverage and publicly funded access to a large set of core health services. Similar to other high-income countries, New Zealand faces the challenges posed by an ageing population, health inequities, as well as the growing burden of non-communicable and chronic diseases.
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The Slovak Republic is struggling to attain the same health outcomes as its Western European Union neighbours. With 5.6% government expenditure on health as share of GDP and moderate private health spending, the country’s financial resources for health are on par with neighbouring Central European countries and countries of comparable wealth.
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The health system in Spain stands out for its impressive life gains during the past decades. Across OECD countries, Spain currently ranks second in terms of life expectancy at birth and at 65 years old, only behind Japan. However, factors such as a high share of out of pocket spending or a relatively low level of health professionals continue to impair higher health system performance.
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Despite financial strains, Portugal has shown a great level of commitment towards improving the quality and efficiency of its health system while maintaining a universal public system. However, although progress has been achieved, certain areas demand further scrutiny such as access to health care services – especially among the most vulnerable population – quality of care, healthier lifestyles and the long-term care system.
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Latvia’s health system broadly delivers effective care to the population within a context of significantly fewer resources compared to most OECD countries. However, there are important challenges to maintain and improve the performance of its health system.
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Japan continues to enjoy strong health outcomes and the longest life expectancies in the OECD. Its health spending has risen more quickly than in other OECD countries in recent years, partly due to population ageing. Within tight fiscal constraints, Japan must ensure the financial sustainability of its health system while orienting it toward an increasingly older population.
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The Luxembourg health care system achieves good results relatively efficiently. Luxembourg is, however, lagging behind other OECD countries with high volume of antibiotics prescribed and high rates of avoidable hospital admissions. Population ageing and increasing risk factors are other important challenges that demand further scrutiny.
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The Austrian health system generally provides good access to health care services through a relatively high degree of human and physical resources. However, primary care could be strengthened in order to avoid unnecessary hospitalisations and a stronger focus on mental ill-health is needed. Efforts are also required to prevent the spread of risk factors such as harmful alcohol and tobacco consumption.
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The Estonian health system has relatively high numbers of doctors, hospital beds and medical services, in spite of modest levels of financial resources for health (6% of GDP in 2014). The outcomes are however mixed compared to other OECD countries.
An increasing number of middle-income countries are participating in projects measuring cognitive skills of the adult population. Large differences in skill levels exist between these countries, with some having a large skills gap compared to OECD countries. Skill differences not only reflect differences in educational attainment, as skill levels among adults with the same level of educational differ widely across countries.