The United Kingdom has been ranked as best in the world for its end-of-life care, with its quality and availability of services from NHS and hospice movement lauded by an international study. The report also recognises the dramatic progress in poor nations because of non-government efforts.

The affordability and quality of care in the UK were the sole reasons why the country received the top remarks, the BBC reports. Overall, UK’s end-of-life care scored 93.9 out of 100, followed by Australia and New Zealand on second and third spots, respectively.

The Economist Intelligence Unit, which released the report, assessed 80 countries' quality of hospitals and hospice environments, affordability and quality of care and staffing numbers and skills for the rankings. The author, Annie Pannelay, said that the UK “is an acknowledged leader in palliative care,” which reflects the country’s efforts on health issues and the improvements it is making.

However, the report indicated that further improvement is still needed for each country, including top-performing nations. Pannelay said that responding to occasional problems through communication or symptom control would improve the quality of care in the UK and may help the country stay at the top of palliative care standards.

Beyond that, the Economist Intelligence Unit also recognised the improvements by some of the poorest countries in terms of providing medical care. This included Mongolia, which ranked 28th, where the government has already invested in hospice facilities, and Uganda, ranked 35th, where access to pain control has improved because of public-private partnerships.

The BBC reports that other poorer nations are beating the trend due to campaigns by individuals who aim to help people have a dignified and pain-free death. According to the report, Panama, Chile, Mongolia and Uganda are all showing some progress on its end-of-life care.

However, in the 80 countries assessed, only 34 were found to provide good quality of end-of-life care, which covers only 15 percent of the adult population facing near-death. Huge countries such as India and China are reportedly in a "worrying" situation.

India was at 67th in the index, while China ranked 71st, which places it in the bottom 10. Both countries have vast populations but are reportedly unable to provide better care for people nearing the end of their lives.

The report highlights that progress in health care would help all countries cope with the demands of an ageing population, and the various illnesses the adult population of the future would face, including cancer, heart disease and dementia.

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