Australia - Mental health spending hits $9 billion, but retains steady proportion of government health spending This hyperlink will open in a new window.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), spending on mental health-related services in Australia grew to $9 billion in 2016, or about $373 per person, an increase from $354 in 2012. The share of government health spending dedicated to mental health remained stable over the same time period. In 2015–16, State and territory governments covered about 60% of total mental health spending, the Australian Government 35%, and private health insurance funds 5%.

Canada – New Brunswick: Premier unveils multi-year plan to reduce wait times in health care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The government of New Brunswick has committed $25 million to fund a multi-year plan to reduce wait times in the province’s healthcare system. Intended to improve accessibility and quality, the plan calls for hiring more family physicians and nurse practitioners in primary care, and accelerating the use of electronic medical records.

Finland - The government’s social and healthcare reform is facing problems This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Legislation to enshrine Finland’s largest ever social and healthcare reform package, known as SOTE, is being held up in the Finnish parliament and undermined by municipalities that are outsourcing services to private providers. The reform proposes 18 new administrative domains (counties) that will be responsible for SOTE services previously run by the municipalities.

France - Health system transformation strategy This hyperlink will open in a new window.
On February 13, 2018, the French government launched the consultation phase of its health system transformation. Consultations will run from March to May and will conclude with the presentation of a detailed roadmap. Five major projects will be discussed: the quality and appropriateness of care and services; financing and remuneration; digital health care; human resources; and territorial organization.

UK - £54 million funding to transform health through data science This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Health Data Research UK and its parent organization, the Medical Research Council (MRC), are awarding £54 million in funding ($95 million Cdn) to 6 sites across the UK that will use data science to address challenging healthcare issues. The sites will work in close partnership with the National Health Service (NHS) to see research findings adopted in practice.

Upcoming Events

Canada - Is Two-Tier Care the Future? Private Finance in Canadian Medicare
The CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research and University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics are hosting this conference to explore Medicare financing from different angles. The conference opens with a public keynote panel on the evening of April 6, 2018, with speakers Greg Marchildon, Danielle Martin and Martha Jackman, and continues all day on April 7. Registration is required for the April 7 conference.

UK - Health Economics for Public Health Practice & Research
The Centre for Health Economics and Medicines Evaluation is holding this short course at Bangor University in the UK from March 19 to 21, 2018. It will equip participants with the concepts, methods and application of health economics to public health and an understanding of potential return from investments in health programmes.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Australia - Translating the Elements of Health Governance for Integrated Care from Theory to Practice: A Case Study Approach This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This Australian case study developed a health governance model for integrated care based on 10 elements linked to healthcare integration. Authors then interviewed participants who held senior governance roles to see if the model’s principles were applicable or already being applied. While all participants agreed the 10 elements were essential to integrated care, most elements were not currently in use.  

Europe - Tools and Methodologies for Assessing the Performance of Primary Care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Assembled by an expert panel convened by the European Union, this report on tools and methodologies for assessing primary care performance identifies 10 main organizational domains in primary care, including care coordination and integration, and proposes indicators that could be used for comparative assessment. Procedural steps required for establishment of a performance assessment system are explored, and recent experiences from European countries are considered.

Europe - Benchmarking Access to Healthcare in the EU This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report from an expert panel in the European Union (EU) proposes a series of quantitative and qualitative benchmarks for assessing progress in reducing unmet need for health care. It also explores use of EU funds to improve access. Relying on the Survey of Income and Living Conditions (SILC), the report draws attention to the relatively high rates of unmet need in some EU countries.  

Europe - Crises and reforms from a health perspective This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This special issue of the IRES journal illustrates the importance of taking health seriously as a criterion for evaluating societies. The articles explore the effects of austerity policies on health services in Europe, the methodical dismantling of Greek healthcare institutions, the effects of unemployment, managerial reforms in healthcare institutions, and much more.

Europe - Boosting Investment in Social Infrastructure in Europe This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published by the European Union (EU), this report by the High-Level Task Force on Investing in Social Infrastructure in Europe looks at investments in social infrastructure such as health care, education, and affordable housing, and discusses the financing tools these require. The report formulates concrete recommendations aimed at enhancing current financing methods as well as future schemes and initiatives.

Sweden - Active listing and more consultations in primary care are associated with reduced hospitalisation in a Swedish population This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Patients in some parts of Sweden have the option of being officially "listed" with a primary care provider. This is taken to signal on ongoing relationship, though unlisted patients have equal access to services. In this paper, authors studied the impact of listing and frequency of primary care consultations on hospitalizations by estimating the odds of hospital admission for a population over a 15-year period in one Swedish county. They found that active listing and more consultations were both associated with reductions in mean days hospitalized.

UK - Learning from the Vanguards This hyperlink will open in a new window.
As part of the UK’s recently concluded national new healthcare models program, 50 vanguard sites were set up around the country by the National Health Service (NHS) to develop and enact innovative health and care services. This series of three NHS briefings looks at these new strategies and models for community outreach, staff and service organization, and institutional change.

International - Navigation delivery models and roles of navigators in primary care: a scoping literature review This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Systems navigation provided by individuals or teams is a way to reduce barriers to primary care. This literature review of 34 studies explores international evidence on system navigation in primary care dating back to 1990. Most of the original studies focused on individual nurse navigators and concerned specific patient populations. As a result, the review finds a high degree of variance in the literature. 

International - Navigating the sustainability landscape: a systematic review of sustainability approaches in healthcare This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Conducted by researchers from the UK and New Zealand, this systematic review of 62 articles analyzes the literature on sustainability in health care. It looks at the theoretical approaches used, how sustainability is defined, what methods are used to assess sustainability, and who is meant to act to improve sustainability. The authors consolidate these variables into constructs, finding significant variation in the combination of constructs used in different approaches to sustainability.