Headlines

Australia - Spending on mental health services exceeds $8.5 billion This hyperlink will open in a new window.
New data released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that spending on mental health-related services in Australia continues to rise, increasing to over $8.5 billion in 2015, which is $911 million more than in 2011. Australia’s 16 state and territorial governments funded 60% of national mental health spending in 2015.

Norway - The Government Action Plan for Implementation of the Health&Care21 Strategy This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The Norwegian government has released an action plan to implement its Health&Care21 Strategy for research and innovation in the healthcare sector. The new plan calls for the establishment of research programs targeting specialist healthcare services, experimental treatments, public health, service development, innovation, community care and global health.

Europe - Euro health consumer index 2016 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published annually since 2005, the Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI) assesses the performance of healthcare systems in 35 European countries. The 2016 EHCI compares systems on 48 indicators, covering areas such as patient rights, access, treatment outcomes, range of services, prevention and use of pharmaceuticals.

UK - New research shows seeing the same GP associated with fewer hospital admissions This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Research published in the British Medical Journal shows that older patients who see the same general practitioner (GP) regularly have fewer avoidable hospital admissions. The study describes steps that can be taken to improve continuity of care, including encouraging receptionists to book appointments for patients with their usual GP. 

UK - Northern Ireland Department of Health publishes plan to address waiting lists This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Northern Ireland’s Health Department has published an Elective Care Plan (ECP) to address waiting times for treatments, care and diagnostics. The ECP contains a number of actions designed to reform elective care to meet demand, including the establishment of new models of provision, such as regional elective care centres.

Upcoming Events

Canada - Innovative Approaches to Optimal Cancer Care in Canada
This conference, organized by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, takes place in Toronto, on April 7 and 8, 2017. It will present promising advances in cancer care internationally and in Canada and discuss how to accelerate their adoption for the benefit of Canadian patients.

Canada - Value-Based Procurement and Innovation 2017: Opportunities for Improving Canada's Health Care
Procurement is increasingly shifting from procuring commodities to procuring outcomes and solutions. Traditional processes do not always serve healthcare systems well and some countries are experimenting with value-based procurement. The Conference Board of Canada is holding a workshop on May 29, followed by a conference on May 30, in Vancouver that will explain value-based procurement and explore how it can lead to better patient outcomes.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Australia - Corporatisation of general practice - impact and implications This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In Australia, general practice is largely private, provided by physicians working individually or in groups. Since 2001, a number of corporate practices have emerged that vary in size, location (urban, rural), and type of services. This review examines the impact of the corporatization of general practice, and its implications for market competition, quality of care, patient outcomes, cost of care, and the healthcare workforce.

Australia - Motivation and Competition in Health Care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Non-pecuniary sources of motivation are a strong feature in healthcare sectors, and the impact of competitive incentives may be lower where pecuniary motivation is low. This study examines physician response to changes in competition on prices. It finds that physicians exploit a lack of competition with higher prices only if they have a high marginal utility of income, due to family (i.e. dependent children) or financial (i.e. student debt).

Canada - CHT Conundrum. Ontario Case Study This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Ontario has yet to agree to decreases in the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) proposed by the federal government. As Ontario’s healthcare costs are expected to rise at a pace well above the previously agreed CHT, the health transfer will fall as a share of provincial expenditures even if it is not cut as anticipated. This paper urges a quick return to the negotiating table to resolve the issue.

Europe - Costs of unsafe care and costeffectiveness of patient safety programmes This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This European Union (EU) study investigates the costs of unsafe care and the cost-effectiveness of patient safety programs. It finds that up to 17% of EU patients experience adverse events, up to half of which are preventable, at a cost of €21 billion. Calculating the return on investment for two safety programs suggests EU-wide savings of €300 million for a program to reduce adverse events and €6 billion for an electronic medication ordering system.

Europe - Intersectoral action for health – Experiences from small countries in the WHO European Region This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Intersectoral action can play a crucial role in addressing public health challenges. This WHO report shows how eight small European countries, with populations of less than one million, used intersectoral action to address a diverse set of health needs. Sectors involved were agriculture, education, family affairs, interior, labour, justice, sports and tourism.

France - Competition and Hospital Quality: Evidence from a French Natural Experiment This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This study evaluates the effect of a pro-competition reform introduced in France between 2004 and 2008 on hospital quality measured by mortality in heart-attack patients. The study finds that non-profit hospitals, which had managerial autonomy and no incentive for competition before the reforms, saw larger declines in mortality in places with greater competition than in less competitive markets.

UK - Health and social care integration This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Conducted by Britain’s Comptroller and Auditor General, this report looks at the ongoing integration of the UK’s previously separate adult social care and health systems and examines the extent to which integration has benefitted patients. The report discusses the case for integrating health and social care, the progress of national integration initiatives, and plans for increased integration in the future.

The Netherlands - The Dutch Healthcare System in International Perspective This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This article by a Dutch academic discusses aspects of the Netherlands' healthcare system of managed competition from an economic perspective that highlights both the system’s merits and the major challenges posed by its adoption. The article goes on to compare the outcomes achieved with those of different countries and suggest improvements to the Dutch system.