Australia - Most emergency department patients seen on time This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A new government report indicates that 74% of Australian emergency department (ED) patients were seen ‘on time’ last year. Almost 100% of resuscitation patients, 79% of emergency patients (requiring treatment within 10 minutes), and 92% of non-urgent patients (requiring treatment within 2 hours) were seen punctually in Australian EDs in 2014.

Switzerland - Federal Council adopts addictions strategy This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This strategy is based on current drugs, alcohol and tobacco programs and takes into account new forms of addiction. It aims to prevent addiction, provide early support to people at risk and provide assistance to those affected. An action plan will be developed in collaboration with key partners by the end of 2016. Efforts will be made to harmonize with the non-communicable diseases prevention strategy.

Canada - Disparities in Care Point to Need for Complex Cancer Surgical Centres This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A new report from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer finds that there are tremendous variations in in-hospital mortality, resection rates and length of stay outcomes in cancer surgery across Canada. Surgical mortality rates were three to four times higher in some provinces than in others. As well, people in provinces with high resection rates are twice as likely to receive potentially curative surgeries than people in provinces with low rates. The report proposes regional centres of excellence to improve access to and outcomes of cancer surgeries.

Canada - Trends in Income-Related Health Inequalities in Canada This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This project undertaken by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, examines whether the health gaps between lower- and higher-income individuals have changed over the past decade. The Health Inequalities Interactive Tool provides a series of visualizations to explore inequalities for 9 health indicators over time, by sex and by province. The technical report provides additional analysis.

Ireland - Minister for Health announces major package of patient safety reforms This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Ireland’s Minister of Health has announced plans to increase the powers of the Irish patients’ ombudsman’s office and introduce comprehensive patient safety legislation. The measures also include proposals for an annual patient experience survey and the creation of a national patient safety office and patient advocacy service.

International - New Index Reveals Gap between Rhetoric and Reality on Universal Health Coverage This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The World Bank has developed an index to assess countries’ progress towards universal health coverage (UHC) that measures the extent of service coverage and financial protection. Applied to 24 developing nations, the index gave the best score to Brazil (81/100), showing that, contrary to some other indices, developing countries are still working on UHC.

Upcoming Events

UK - New Frontiers in Priority Setting
The International Society on Priorities in Health Care is holding this conference from September 7 to 9, 2016, in Birmingham. The focus will be on the challenges posed by a climate of austerity, and the need to develop new ways of meeting these challenges equitably through research, policy and practice. The organizers have launched a call for abstracts relating to priority setting within and beyond the health sector. The deadline for abstract submission is February 5, 2016.

Spain - WHO Barcelona Course on Health Financing
Universal health coverage is the theme of this course, taking place in Barcelona from March 14 to 18, 2016. It will review policy instruments to improve health system performance and offer many examples of practical experience from the WHO European Region. The course is built around 5 modules: coordinating reform, raising revenues, pooling health revenues, purchasing and designing a benefit package. The deadline for applications is January 18 2016.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Australia - OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality: Australia 2015. Raising Standards This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published by the OECD, this review provides an overview of Australia’s mixed public and private health sector and the quality of its health services and institutions. It calls for a national approach to raise quality and performance, but says Australia’s health system functions well despite many overlapping jurisdictions that disrupt care funding and continuity.

Australia - A Model for Australian General Practice - The Australian Person- Centred Medical Home This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Released as Australia currently undergoes major healthcare reforms, this paper proposes a sustainable model for general practice (GP) and primary care. The model embeds in primary care the concept of a Patient-Centred Medical Home (PCMH) that incorporates a GP payment system to align incentives with health care outcomes. The authors recommend a pilot study to test the ability of incentives to achieve expected benefits.

Canada - Policy Capacity for Health System Reform This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This review analyzes dimensions of policy capacity that support effective policy making in health care. Examining the skills, competencies, and conditions required for productive policy results, the review notes that policy making is a social exchange process that requires organizational support for successful development.

Canada - Understanding Multilevel Governance Processes: The Case of the Québec Healthcare System This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In 2004, Québec’s healthcare system created 95 Health and Social Service Centres (HSSCs) that were given decision-making power over service organization. Family physicians were also incentivized to work in family medicine groups (FMGs) that emphasize multidisciplinary teams. This paper examines the multilevel processes of governance implemented in the development of collaborative practices between these levels of care. Case studies are included.

Canada - The Public Health Care Monopoly on Trial: The Legal Challenges Aiming to Change Canada’s Health Care Policies This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Yanick Labrie from the Montreal Economic Institute looks, in this article, at past and upcoming challenges in provincial courts to restrictions on private health care. He compares Canadian policies with those of other countries and discusses their impact on timeliness of care, principally for elective surgeries.

Europe - Healthcare Reform in Italy and Spain: Do these tax-financed, decentralised systems facilitate better reform implementation than in the NHS? This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Like Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), Italy and Spain have tax-financed and decentralized healthcare systems and have recently undergone reforms prompted by austerity. This UK report investigates the effects of each country’s reforms on healthcare outcomes, primary care, and core values. It finds that health outcomes are poorer in the UK and that primary health care in Italy and Spain remains more efficient, equitable and decentralized.

UK - Place-based systems of care: a way forward for the NHS This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) is currently developing new service delivery models to respond to its ongoing financial crisis. This paper argues that NHS providers should establish place-based care systems that collaborate to manage resources. The authors argue that the alternative is for each of the 2,000-odd NHS organizations to adopt a ‘fortress mentality’ that secures its own future regardless of the impact on others.

UK - Growing healthy communities. The Health and Wellbeing Index This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Based on the assessment of 33 health determinants and outcomes at the local government level, this health and wellbeing index for the region of England shows the scale and nature of health inequalities across the UK. The authors say the data reinforces the need for a local, place-based approach to tackling health outcomes.

USA - Intentional whole health system redesign: Southcentral Foundation’s ‘Nuka’ system of care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This article looks at Alaska’s Southcentral Foundation, regarded as one of the world’s most successful examples of health system redesign. State-funded, run by Alaskan Natives, and responsible for the health care of Alaska’s indigenous peoples, Southcentral drastically improved its health services and outcomes by integrating service delivery and instituting a culturally-responsive system of care. The article considers lessons learned and analyzes key messages.