More than 17,000 deaths a year in the UK are unnecessary and due to poor NHS performance, according to a group of campaigners.

The Taxpayers' Alliance, a group that campaigns for lower taxes, compared World Health Organisation data for five European countries.

It found the NHS had 17,157 extra deaths in 2004 compared with the other countries' average, when taking into account age and burden of diseases.

The study compared the UK with France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.

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