Headlines

Summer season This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Please note that the newsletter’s publication will be interrupted for the summer. We will resume publication on August 22, 2017. Until then, you may consult our Web site at: http://www.msss.gouv.qc.ca/ministere/observatoiresss/index.php?accueil-en This hyperlink will open in a new window.

Canada - More than 60,000 Canadians left the country for medical treatment in 2016 This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A Fraser Institute study has found that 63,459 Canadians travelled abroad for medical care in 2016, departing for general surgeries (9,454 patients), urology treatment (6,426), internal medicine procedures (5,095) and ophthalmology treatment (3,990). British Columbia reported the highest proportion (2.4%), while Ontario had the greater number (26,513) of patients leaving Canada for care.

Canada - Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians expected to get cancer This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Nearly one in two Canadians can expect to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime according to Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017. This latest Canadian Cancer Society report finds a 49% lifetime cancer risk for men and 45% risk for women. One in four Canadians is now expected to die of cancer.

Ireland - Pilot staffing project in hospital wards showing real results in retention of nurses, reduction of agency staff and outcomes for patients This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Operating on a pilot basis, Ireland’s new Framework for Safe Nurse Staffing and Skill Mix has shown good results in nurse retention, patient outcomes, and reducing use of subcontracted private staff. The €2 million project ($2.96 million Cdn) conducted in six wards in three hospitals will now be extended to incorporate 10 wards.

New Zealand - New Zealand’s first Health Research Strategy launched This hyperlink will open in a new window.
New Zealand has launched a strategy to increase government investment in health research. Bringing together health science, research and innovation to form a more cohesive system, the new strategy establishes four priorities: invest in excellence; create a vibrant environment; improve translation to policy and practice; and advance innovative ideas and commercial opportunities.

UK - Clinical negligence costs at tipping point - urgent reform needed This hyperlink will open in a new window.
A report by Britain’s Medical Protection Society (MPS) is warning that clinical negligence costs in the National Health Service (NHS) have increased by 72% since 2012 and could soon reach an annual cost of £2.6 billion ($4.38 billion Cdn). The report says compensation in cases of negligence must account for ability to pay, and calls for reform.

Upcoming Events

Canada - 5th Annual National Forum on Patient Experience
Organized by the Strategy Institute, this conference aims to present the strategies used at various system levels to improve patient experience. It features a diverse program of presentations and case studies from acute, long-term, primary, home, and community care, as well as regional health authorities, legislators, researchers, and associations. The conference will be held in Toronto, on September 26 and 27, 2017.

Canada - The System Awakens: Building Learning Healthcare Systems in Canada
The University of British Columbia Centre for Health Services and Policy Research is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2018 with a health policy conference to explore the idea of learning healthcare systems. The conference will take place March 8 and 9, 2018, in Vancouver. More information will be available soon.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Australia - Barriers to accessing primary health care: comparing Australian experiences internationally This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This study describes Australia’s barriers to primary care compared with experiences from 10 other developed countries. In 2013, 27% of Australian adults experienced difficulties with after-hours access to primary care and 16% went without any health care in the previous year due to affordability and cost concerns. These barriers were more common in Australia than in seven of 10 comparator countries.

Canada - Primary Care Access and Emergency Department Utilization: Theory and Evidence from Canada This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Studying how after-hours physician incentives affect emergency department (ED) use, this paper developed a model suggesting reduced ED use is related to expanded primary care access. However, incentivizing primary care physicians to provide after-hours services can also reduce service during regular hours and increase ED utilization: an ambiguous result. Testing with Ontario healthcare administrative data from 2004-2013 produced findings consistent with these predictions.

Europe - Private health insurance companies in six European countries This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This report describes the role of private insurance companies in health coverage in Europe, looking at six countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain and the United Kingdom. These countries have basic and compulsory health coverage, but some entrust the management of this coverage to private insurers. There are significant government constraints on these markets, and these are found to exhibit trends toward concentration.

Europe - Measuring efficiency in health care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Efficiency measures are vital for assessing the performance of health systems. This issue of the Eurohealth Observer features two articles that explore issues related to measuring the performance of European health systems. One article identifies the causes of inefficiencies in the continent’s health systems, while the other examines the challenges of using European cross-country comparisons of efficiency to inform national health policy. 

Europe - Health and inequality in health in the Nordic countries This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Comparing population health, access to health care, and inequalities in the five Nordic countries (Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland), Germany and the UK, this 2002-2012 study found that Nordic countries lead in access, services, and population health, and have fewer health inequalities. Sweden rated first among the Nordic countries while low-income citizens experienced the best health and care in Iceland.

Spain - Austerity, health care provision, and health outcomes in Spain This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The 2008 economic crisis led to strict government austerity measures in Spanish health care, many of which remain in place today. This study finds that hospital staff and bed reductions played a role in increased mortality rates due to difficult births and cardiovascular disease. Overall analysis suggests that the impact of decreased healthcare provision on mortality is statistically significant but variable across Spain’s 17 regions.

UK - Social care: a prefunded solution This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Prepared by a free-enterprise think tank, this paper on British social care calls for replacing the current ‘pay as you go’ approach to financing social care in later life with a prefunded arrangement. Under this proposal, working-age people would contribute a percentage of income into a Later Life Care Fund. These pooled savings would then be managed privately before being used to fund the care costs of contributors.

International - Future trends in health care expenditure. A modelling framework for cross-country forecasts This hyperlink will open in a new window.
In the 34 countries of the OECD, healthcare spending is outpacing economic growth. This OECD paper presents a modelling framework for cross-country forecasts of projected healthcare expenditure growth that identifies common healthcare spending drivers across countries. These include: population aging, technological progress, sector productivity and rising staff, infrastructure, and service and material costs.