How does New Zealand's healthcare system stack up against the rest of the world?

New Zealand's healthcare system is as good as the UK's, according to a new international ranking - but both countries are lagging behind the likes of Japan, France and Australia.

ID Medical, a UK healthcare recruiter that works closely with the National Health Service (NHS), has ranked 24 OECD countries on their healthcare systems.

The nations were all scored out of 100 based on life expectancy, their number of medical professionals and their GDP healthcare spending.

New Zealand cracked the top 20, coming in at 19th on the list with a score of 60. We spend 9 percent of our GDP on healthcare and have a life expectancy of 81.45. We also have 12,821 hospital beds and 62,843 doctors and nurses.

We got the same score as the UK, which has a slightly lower life expectancy but spends more on healthcare for its world-renowned NHS, one of the West's major social reforms following WWII. 

New Zealand and the UK received the same score for our healthcare systems.
New Zealand and the UK received the same score for our healthcare systems. Photo credit: ID Medical

The number one spot went to Japan, which has the world's highest life expectancy - barring the tiny casino-studded city state of Monaco - at 85.77. Scoring 72 points, Japan devotes 10.7 percent of its GDP to healthcare spending and has almost as many hospital beds (1.6 million) as it does doctors and nurses (1.7 million).

Germany, Switzerland, Austria and France rounded out the top five. Latvia made it into the top eight despite only having a life expectancy of 74.64.

Italy spends more on healthcare than any other country in the OECD, with 18.9 percent of its GDP dedicated to keeping its people well.

Australia beat us by six places, coming 13th with 62 points. Some 9.1 percent of its GDP spending goes to its healthcare system, and the average Australian can expect to live a year longer than the average Kiwi.

The lowest-ranked nation goes to Israel with 57 points, which has a similar number of doctors and nurses as New Zealand despite having twice our population. Israel spends just 7.4 percent of its GDP on healthcare and has a life expectancy of 81.76.

However it's not the worst healthcare in the OECD - eight countries didn't even make the top 24, including Chile, Luxembourg and Portugal.

Notable in its absence is the US, which was not included because it has no public or universal healthcare system.