OECD governments have to decide whether they want to cover more services at a limited reimbursement rate, or whether they want to extend more the financial protection for a limited number of services.
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Although Ireland has seen remarkable improvements in the health of its population in the last decades, several challenges lie ahead for its health system. Based on available OECD analyses, further progress could be made to promote efficient use of hospital resources, strengthen primary care, address high pharmaceutical spending and prevent the spread of risk factors including obesity and alcohol consumption.
OECD Health Care Quality Reviews seek to examine what works and what does not work in different countries – both to benchmark the efforts of countries and to provide advice on reforms to improve their health system.
In this report we present an assessment of public health strategies designed to tackle behavioural risk factors for chronic diseases that are closely linked with obesity, including aspects of diet and physical inactivity, in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, Russia, and South Africa.
Those in-depth studies of the health system of member countries focus on economic issues. They assess the performance of health systems in a comparative context, identify the main challenges faced by the country health system and put forward policy options to better meet them. Reviews are initiated at the request of the country to be examined and emphasis is placed on specific issues of key policy interest.
Health systems in the United Kingdom have, for many years, made the quality of care a highly visible priority, internationally pioneering many tools and policies to assure and improve the quality of care. A key challenge, however, is to understand why, despite being a global leader in quality monitoring and improvement, the United Kingdom does not consistently demonstrate strong performance on international benchmarks of quality. This report reviews the quality of health care in the England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, seeking to highlight best practices, and provides a series of targeted assessments and recommendations for further quality gains in health care. To secure continued quality gains, the four health systems will need to balance top-down approaches to quality management and bottom-up approaches to quality improvement; publish more quality and outcomes data disaggregated by country; and, establish a forum where the key officials and clinical leaders from the four health systems responsible for quality of care can meet on a regular basis to learn from each other’s innovations.
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Italy’s indicators of health system outcomes and quality are consistently good. This is despite levels of health spending below other high-income OECD countries. However, Italy is lagging behind in some areas, like long-term care and prevention of non-communicable diseases.
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The French health care system performs relatively well. Health outcomes are better than the OECD average and citizens enjoy good access to care. However, France is lagging behind other OECD countries in some areas including for example antibiotics prescribing or alcohol consumption.
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Finland appears to have a high performing health system, with remarkable good quality in both primary and hospital care. The country also achieves good health status at relatively low level of health spending. Despite these advances, there are specific areas where improvements can be made such as preventing the spread of obesity and addressing gaps in mental health.
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The growth rate in health spending per capita in Canada has slowed down markedly in recent years, being close to zero in real terms since 2011. Life expectancy in Canada is one year higher than the OECD average, but rising alcohol consumption and obesity rates are growing risk factors to health. Canada could further improve the quality of care in order to cope better with rising prevalence of chronic diseases.