Antibiotic resistance still remains a major European and global public health problem and is, for a large part, driven by misuse of antibiotics. In the past four years there has been a significant increasing trend of combined resistance to multiple antibiotics in both Klebsiella pneumoniae and E. coli in more than one-third of EU/EEA countries. Furthermore, recent data shows that consumption of carbapenems – a major last-line class of antibiotics – increased significantly in EU/EEA countries from 2007 to 2010. Along with Iceland and Latvia, the United Kingdom is among the three European countries that record the greatest increase in antibiotics consumption between 2009 and 2010. However, total consumption remains moderate compared to other European countries..
A separate set of statistics – the report Health at a Glance: Europe released jointly by the European Commission and the OECD – shows that Britain tops two other league tables: on increasing the number of GPs per capita and on obesity. The UK started from the second lowest level of GP per capita – 2.00 per 1 000 inhabitants in 2000 - to reach 2.7 in 2010 (and 2.8 in 2011). Although this is one of the most rapid growths, the figure is still below the EU average - 3.4 in 2010.
The Health at a Glance report shows that in 2010 26% of Brits are considered obese – up from 14% in 1990. This – along with Hungary – is the highest rate among adults on EU level. The average EU figures are not reassuring - more than half of adult Europeans are now overweight and 17% obese. The latest statistics show that in many countries these rates have doubled since 1990.
Finally, the same report – which presents key health indicators - shows that health spending per person and as a percentage of GDP fell across the European Union in 2010. From an annual average growth rate of 4.6% between 2000 and 2009, health spending per person fell to -0.6% in 2010. This is the first time that health spending has fallen in Europe since 1975.In the UK, health spending dropped by 0.5% after a 4.9% growth between 2000 and 2009. The report underlines that the cuts in health spending in many EU countries may have a long-term impact on the fundamental goals of health systems.