Headlines

Canada - Ontario's Government for the People to Break Down Barriers to Better Patient Care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Ontario's provincial government has announced a new healthcare plan to integrate multiple provincial agencies and programs into a single system oversight agency. The province will also invest $3.8 billion in a new system for mental health and addictions treatment, and add 45,000 long-term care beds over the next decade.

Europe - Cohesion Policy after 2020: preparing the future of EU investments in health This hyperlink will open in a new window.
European Union (EU) health experts are currently meeting to discuss future EU health investments under the Cohesion Policy program, which funds projects for health inequalities, e-health digital solutions, research, health education, healthy aging, and workplace health and safety. Over €8 billion ($12 million Cdn) of Cohesion Policy funds have been invested since 2014.

UK - Mental health and wellbeing support for NHS staff: government pledges overhaul This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The British government is overhauling mental health and wellbeing support for National Health Service (NHS) staff. New provisions will include a staff mental health service, fast-tracked mental health referrals, and a wellbeing ombudsperson. Surveys show that fewer than 30% of employees feel the NHS takes positive action to improve staff health and wellbeing.

International - Country origin ‘best predictor of outcome’ for children with cancer, UN experts say This hyperlink will open in a new window.
According to the cancer agency of the WHO, 300,000 cases of cancer are diagnosed annually in children under age 18. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) warns that only 20% of children with cancer survive in low-resource settings, meaning that country of residence remains the best predictor of outcomes.

Upcoming Events

Canada - 2019 Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Conference This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The conference takes place from September 19 to 21, 2019, in Ottawa, Ontario. Streams look at integration of care, clinical practice, compassionate communities and care for indigenous people. The event gives healthcare professionals, social workers, caregivers, volunteers and spiritual advisers an opportunity to share their experience and expertise on a national platform.

Italy - Skill-mix innovation in primary and chronic care: mobilizing the health workforce This hyperlink will open in a new window.
The European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies supports and promotes evidence-based health policy-making through comprehensive and rigorous analysis of the dynamics of health care systems in Europe. The Venice Summer School combines learning opportunities with the magical environment of the Venice lagoon. It takes place from July 21 to 27, in Venice.

Reports and Issue Portfolios

Canada - Do family health clinics provide primary-level palliative care in Ontario and the eastern regions of Quebec? This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This study provides important insights into the extent to which family health clinics provide primary-level palliative care in Ontario and eastern Quebec. The authors found that most of the responding clinics in both provinces reported that their patients who required palliative care had access to ambulatory and home care. A relatively small group of clinics in Ontario (28%) and most clinics in Quebec (91%) provided on-call palliative care services themselves.

Canada - What the Doctor Ordered: Improving the Use and Value of Laboratory Testing This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Around 70% of medical decisions are based on laboratory tests. This commentary by the CD Howe Institute investigates the use and cost of laboratory testing in Canada and finds variations across the country. To reduce inappropriate testing, it proposes more information on practice variation, reforming requisition orders and care paths to adhere to clinical guidelines, and developing provincial formularies for diagnostic testing.

Europe - Economic and social impacts and benefits of health systems This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This WHO report demonstrates how the health sector is essential to a stable economy. Designed to assist European policymakers, the report provides guidance to engage in dialogue with ministries of finance to prevent disinvestment in health. It includes a framework that national, regional and local policymakers can apply to show that health systems are a key sector supporting goals for sustainable development.

Europe - Towards a fairer and more effective measurement of access to healthcare across the EU. Final report This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Currently, no standard approach exists to measure access to health care across the 28 countries of the European Union (EU). This EU report, based on a review of the literature and policy documents, establishes a conceptual framework that covers the key dimensions of access: availability, affordability, adequacy, timeliness, accessibility and appropriateness. It then tests and refines 203 proposed indicators to develop a EU-wide strategy to standardize the measurement of access.

Norway - Gaming the system to care for patients: a focused ethnography in Norwegian public home care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Norwegian public health care (including homecare) is organized according to New Public Management (NPM) principles that include performance measurement, efficiency, privatization, competition and financial control. Conducted in six home care regions run by two municipalities, this study examines nurses' and patients' perceptions of NPM organizational methods. It finds that both groups regard them as based on economic, rather than healthcare, imperatives and have negative perceptions of these methods.

Sweden - Pursuing the objectives of support to providers and external accountability through enabling controls - a study of governance models in Swedish primary care This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This study of governance models in primary care is based on data from the 21 county councils (CCs) that organize and finance Sweden's healthcare. Governance relies on four management controls (contracts, reimbursement systems, dialogue and performance measurement) that support quality improvement as well as ensure external accountability. Interviews with CC representatives describe the model's intended role as both coercive and enabling, with an emphasis on the latter.

UK - Public acceptability of health and social care funding options. Funding options for the NHS and social care in the UK This hyperlink will open in a new window.
Organized by a charitable think-tank, this project involved focus groups in the UK's four parts (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) to explore public preferences over ways to raise funds for health and social care. It found that the vast majority of participants wanted social care funding to be administered similarly to health care. Few participants realised the extent of private funding of social care.

USA - Promoting Health and Cost Control in States: How States Can Improve Community Health & Well-being Through Policy Change This hyperlink will open in a new window.
With funding supplied by the non-profit, non-partisan Trust for America’s Health, the PHACCS Initiative pinpoints evidence-based policies to provide the 50 US states with information on how to promote health while controlling costs. This report identifies policies for good health that benefit from cross-sector collaboration, reinforcing the awareness that changes to any given policy area can impact both health and a state's control over costs.

International - Trends In Life Expectancy In Eu And Other OECD Countries: Why Are Improvements Slowing? This hyperlink will open in a new window.
This paper describes life expectancy trends in the European Union (EU) and Norway, USA, Canada, Australia and Japan. Life expectancy in the US is below the EU average (81 years), whereas in Australia, Canada and Japan it remains higher. The US is the only country where life expectancy is falling. Slowing improvements in other countries since 2011 are attributed largely to disease and socio-economic inequalities.