Australia - Building a Health Workforce for Rural Australia This hyperlink will open in a new window.
More doctors, nurses and allied health professionals will be trained and located in rural Australia in an overhaul of clinical training by the federal government. Spearheading the rural health workforce initiative is a new Integrated Rural Training Pipeline that will help to retain medical graduates in rural areas by better coordinating training within regions.

Canada - Patients First: A Proposal to Strengthen Patient-Centred Health Care in Ontario This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This discussion paper, published on December 17, 2015, by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, presents recommendations for addressing structural issues that create inequities and for truly integrating the healthcare system so that it provides the care patients need no matter where they live. The Ministry is inviting input on the proposal from patients and providers across the province. Feedback should be provided by February 29, 2016.

France - Launch of a civic service program for health and social services and women's rights This hyperlink will open in a new window.
On December 16, the French government announced the launch of a national effort to make civic service universal. Ministries, associations and communities are expected to meet the demands of young volunteers and offer all youth who apply a civic service mission. The program anticipates the creation of 17,000 new missions in 2016, and 25,000 missions in 2017. Young volunteers may work in hospitals, in providing support for families and seniors, and in the fight against social exclusion. 

New Zealand - Yearly snapshot of New Zealanders’ health released This hyperlink will open in a new window.
New Zealand has published its 2015 national health survey. Based on data from 13,000 adults and 4,000 children, the survey monitors 50 indicators of health behaviours, health status, and access to health care. The 2015 survey shows increased access to care in early childhood and declines in youth tobacco and alcohol use.

UK - Health Minister Simon Hamilton launches consultation on ambitious reform of health and social care system in Northern Ireland This hyperlink will open in a new window.
On December 15, 2015, the Health Minister of the regional government of Northern Ireland launched a public consultation on reform of the health and social care system. The proposed changes seek to radically reduce bureaucracy by abolishing Ministry agencies and oversight boards, and break down barriers to innovation.

Upcoming Events

Canada - A Learning Healthcare System: Let the Patient Revolution Begin!
The 2016 conference of the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research takes place May 10 to 12, 2016, in Toronto. The deadline to submit abstracts for oral, poster and panel presentations is January 15, 2016.

Canada - Finding and Using Research Evidence: Workshop for Policymakers, Stakeholders and Researchers
McMaster Health Forum offers five-day workshop on finding and using research evidence: February 16-20. The Course is designed to develop participants' knowledge about the tools and resources available to health system policymakers and stakeholders; enable participants to examine the attitudes that are supportive of using research evidence in decision-making; and enhance participants' skills in acquiring and applying research evidence.

Spain - 16th International Conference on Integrated Care
At this conference, taking place May 23 to 25, 2016, in Barcelona, researchers, clinicians and managers from around the world will share the latest evidence about integrating public health, health and social care. It will look at the new roles for hospitals in producing positive and curative integrated mental and physical care, key enablers such as digital health solutions, and coproduction with individuals, careers, communities and populations.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Canada - Mapping the Journey—Success and Failure with Lean This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Lean is an organizational management approach that supports the concept of continuous improvement. This briefing on the use of Lean in Canadian health care describes the tools, systems and principles involved, and outlines the challenges and rewards these brings to healthcare organizations. Examples from the recent Lean reorganization of the British Columbia Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) are highlighted.

Canada - Setting the Record Straight on Health Care Funding in Canada This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Contrary to what certain commentators declare, we are not witnessing the gradual privatization of health care funding in Canada. An Economic Note published by the Montreal Economic Institute demonstrates that this is a myth, at least when it comes to medically required care, which forms the core of our health care system.

Canada - Waiting Your Turn: Wait Times for Health Care in Canada, 2015 Report This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Produced annually by the Fraser Institute, this report indicates that Canadian wait times for medically necessary treatment did not improve in 2015. Provincially, Saskatchewan reported the shortest total waits (13.6 weeks), while Prince Edward Island reported the longest (43.1 weeks). In 2015, roughly 2.5% of Canadians were waiting for treatment; the longest waits are for orthopedic surgery (35.7 weeks).

Canada - Policy Innovation is Needed to Match Health Care Delivery Reform: The Story of the Champlain BASE eConsult Service This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This commentary says Canada needs to reform health services delivery and finds that the current lack of policy responsiveness hinders the expansion of innovations to improve patient care. To illustrate these challenges and how they might be overcome, the authors explore an innovative electronic specialist consultation start-up that is growing into an Ontario-wide service.

Europe - Health Statistics for the Nordic Countries 2015 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Published annually, the 2015 edition of Health Statistics for the Nordic Countries (Scandinavia, Finland, Iceland and Greenland) presents data on population trends, illness, hospital treatment and causes of death. Descriptions of the structure and resources of Nordic countries' health sectors are provided. Trends towards integrated and community services are evident.

New Zealand - The New Zealand Casemix System – An Overview This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The term 'casemix' refers to the mix of patients treated in a system that aggregates groups based on health conditions or types of procedure. Casemix systems are used in hospital planning, clinical reviews, funding, monitoring and benchmarking. In New Zealand, casemix based funding applies to medical, surgical and obstetric inpatient services. This publication focuses on casemix funding for New Zealand’s hospital inpatient admissions.

Sweden - Evidence-informed policy formulation and implementation: a comparative case study of two national policies for improving health and social care in Sweden This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This study set out to analyze two policies designed to improve health and social care in Sweden by empirically testing a new conceptual model for evidence-informed policy formulation and implementation. The Conceptual Model for Evidence-Informed Policy Formulation and Implementation was found to be useful. However, the model was found to provide insufficient guidance for analyzing actors involved in the policy process, capacity-building strategies, and overlapping policy phases.

UK - Cost-effectiveness thresholds in health care: a bookshelf guide to their meaning and use This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Experts in the UK disagree about the meaning and role of cost-effectiveness thresholds in British health policy decision-making. This article dissects the main issues and highlights 16 key points. It says thresholds approached from the supply side (not the demand side) are preferable in deciding which interventions should be added to or subtracted from public insurance packages.

International - Comparing the Health Care Systems of High-Performing Asian Countries This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The newly industrialized and high-income economies of East Asia perform well on a wide range of health system indicators. This paper examines and compares similarities and differences in healthcare financing and provision in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and South Korea.

International - Spending cuts on health care in countries badly affected by the economic crisis impede access to care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report, published by INSEE in France, examines the impact of the economic crisis begun in 2008, which caused a reversal in health spending trends that, in the 30 years before the crisis, grew fairly consistently in most European countries. The report finds that in some countries, measures implemented after the crisis have reduced access to care, and especially to medicines. Although life expectancy has not declined, life expectancy in good health has declined in Greece and Italy.