The UK has been voted number one out of 11 countries in a report ranking international healthcare systems published by the Commonwealth Fund, for the second time running.

The report compared healthcare systems in the UK, US, Switzerland, Sweden, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Norway and Australia.

It ranked the UK first overall and first for care process (prevention, safe care, coordination, and patient engagement) and equity (comparison of performance for higher- and lower-income individuals), which is particularly noteworthy given the NHS’ current financial and performance issues.

“These outstanding results are a testament to the dedication of NHS staff, who despite pressure on the front line are delivering safer, more compassionate care than ever,” said health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The UK also scored highly on securing value out of the money invested by the tax payer.

“This international research is a welcome reminder of the fundamental strengths of the NHS, and a call-to-arms in support of the NHS Forward View’s practical plan to improve cancer, mental health and other outcomes of care,” said an NHS England spokesperson, commenting on the findings.

However, NHS England admitted that despite its pole position there remain remain room for improvement with regard to health care outcomes, coming second last in the table despite the report highlighting that the UK experienced the fastest reduction in deaths amenable to health care in the last 10 years.

The study, the only to include survey data to measure and compare patient and physician experiences across wealthy nations, ranked the US last overall, and on providing equally accessible and high-quality health care, regardless of a person's income.