Hong Kong is ranked 22 in a list of 80 countries featured in the 2015 Quality of Death Index. The Index measures of the quality of care for patients with serious illnesses. Hong Kong dropped two places since the last survey in 2010.

The Index was composed of scores in 20 quantitative and qualitative indicators across five categories, including palliative and healthcare environment, supply of palliative care professionals, affordability of care, quality of care, and community engagement to raise awareness of end-of-life choices.

Hong Kong ranked lower than regional rival Singapore, which was at 12th place.

“Hong Kong scores relatively poorly in terms of overall healthcare spending, the availability of research-based policy evaluation and its capacity to deliver palliative care services,” the report said.

Beds in a Hong Kong hospital. File Photo: Apple Daily.

Taiwan was the best ranked country in Asia at sixth place, due to the fact that “Taiwanese palliative care is widely available, affordable and comprehensive.”

China, which ranked 71st, was reported to be “facing difficulties from slow adoption of palliative care and a rapidly aging population.”

It was also among the most vulnerable due to the the rising incidence of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, which accounted for one-third of all deaths in the country in 2012. But the report also said that a shift in government policy may change the situation.

The UK ranked first in the ranking, “thanks to comprehensive national policies, the extensive integration of palliative care into its National Health Service, and a strong hospice movement.” The UK also came out tops in the last survey.

The Index was commissioned by the Lien Foundation, a Singaporean philanthropic organisation. It was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The Index was based on extensive research and interviews with over 120 palliative care experts from across the world.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.