In Bangladesh, widespread dissatisfaction with government health services did not improve during the Health and Population Sector Programme (HPSP) reforms from 1998-2003. A 2003 national household survey documented public and health service users' views and experience. Attitudes and behaviour of health workers are central to quality of health services. To investigate whether the views of health workers influenced the reforms, we surveyed local health workers and held evidence-based discussions with local service managers and professional bodies.
Some 1866 government health workers in facilities serving the household survey clusters completed a questionnaire about their views, experience, and problems as workers. Field teams discussed the findings from the household and health workers' surveys with local health service managers in five upazilas (administrative sub-districts) and with the Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) and Bangladesh Nurses Association (BNA).
Nearly one half of the health workers (45%) reported difficulties fulfilling their duties, especially doctors, women, and younger workers. They cited inadequate supplies and infrastructure, bad behaviour of patients, and administrative problems. Many, especially doctors (74%), considered they were badly treated as employees. Nearly all said lack of medicines in government facilities was due to inadequate supply, not improved during the HPSP. Two thirds of doctors and nurses complained of bad behaviour of patients. A quarter of respondents thought quality of service had improved as a result of the HPSP.
Local service managers and the BMA and BNA accepted patients had negative views and experiences, blaming inadequate resources, high patient loads, and patients' unrealistic expectations. They said doctors and nurses were demotivated by poor working conditions, unfair treatment, and lack of career progression; private and unqualified practitioners sought to please patients instead of giving medically appropriate care. The BMA considered it would be dangerous to attempt to train and register unqualified practitioners.
The continuing dissatisfaction of health workers may have undermined the effectiveness of the HPSP. Presenting the views of the public and service users to health managers helped to focus discussions about quality of services. It is important to involve health workers in health services reforms.
Human resources (HR) are one of the most important components determining performance of public health system. The aim of this study was to assess adequacy of HR of local public health agencies to meet the needs emerging from health care reforms in Georgia.
We used the Human Resources for Health Action Framework, which includes six components: HR management, policy, finance, education, partnerships and leadership. The study employed: (a) quantitative methods: from September to November 2004, 30 randomly selected district Centers of Public Health (CPH) were surveyed through face-to-face interviews with the CPH director and one public health worker randomly selected from all professional staff; and (b) qualitative methods: in November 2004, Focus Group Discussions (FGD) were held among 3 groups: a) 12 district public health professionals, b) 11 directors of district public health centers, and c) 10 policy makers at central level.
There was an unequal distribution of public health workers across selected institutions, with lack of professionals in remote rural district centers and overstaffing in urban centers. Survey respondents disagreed or were uncertain that public health workers possess adequate skills and knowledge necessary for delivery of public health programs. FGDs shed additional light on the survey findings that there is no clear vision and plans on HR development. Limited budget, poor planning, and ignorance from the local government were mentioned as main reasons for inadequate staffing. FGD participants were concerned with lack of good training institutions and training programs, lack of adequate legislation for HR issues, and lack of necessary resources for HR development from the government.
After ten years of public health system reforms in Georgia, the public health workforce still has major problems such as irrational distribution and inadequate knowledge and skills. There is an urgent need for re-training and training programs and development of conducive policy environment with sufficient resources to address these problems and assure adequate functionality of public health programs.
Supported by development partners, the Government of Bangladesh carried out a comprehensive reform of health services in Bangladesh between 1998 and 2003, intended to make services more responsive to public needs: the Health and Population Sector Programme (HPSP). They commissioned a series of surveys of the public, as part of evaluation of the HPSP. This article uses the survey findings to examine the changes in public opinions, use and experience of health services in the period of the HPSP.
We carried out three household surveys (1999, 2000 and 2003) of a stratified random sample of 217 rural sites and 30 urban sites. Each site comprised 100–120 contiguous households. Each survey included interviews with 25,000 household respondents and managers of health facilities serving the sites, and gender-stratified focus groups in each site. We measured: household ratings of government health services; reported use of services in the preceding month; unmet need for health care; user reports of waiting times, payments, explanations of condition, availability of prescribed medicines, and satisfaction with service providers.
Public rating of government health services as "good" fell from 37% to 10% and the proportion using government treatment services fell from 13% to 10%. Unmet need increased from 3% to 9% of households. The proportion of visits to government facilities fell from 17% to 13%, while the proportion to unqualified practitioners rose from 52% to 60%. Satisfaction with service providers' behaviour dropped from 66% to 56%. Users were more satisfied when waiting time was shorter, prescribed medicines were available, and they received explanations of their condition.
Services have retracted despite increased investment and the public now prefer unqualified practitioners over government services. Public opinion of government health services has deteriorated and the reforms have not specifically helped the poorest people. User satisfaction could be increased if government doctors improved their interaction with patients and if waiting times were reduced by better management of facilities.
Uganda is proposing introduction of the National Health Insurance scheme (NHIS) in a phased manner with the view to obtaining additional funding for the health sector and promoting financial risk protection. In this paper, we have assessed the proposed NHIS from an equity perspective, exploring the extent to which NHIS would improve existing disparities in the health sector.
We reviewed the proposed design and other relevant documents that enhanced our understanding of contextual issues. We used the Kutzin and fair financing frameworks to critically assess the impact of NHIS on overall equity in financing in Uganda.
The introduction of NHIS is being proposed against the backdrop of inequalities in the distribution of health system inputs between rural and urban areas, different levels of care and geographic areas. In this assessment, we find that gradual implementation of NHIS will result in low coverage initially, which might pose a challenge for effective management of the scheme. The process for accreditation of service providers during the first phase is not explicit on how it will ensure that a two-tier service provision arrangement does not emerge to cater for different types of patients. If the proposed fee-for-service mechanism of reimbursing providers is pursued, utilisation patterns will determine how resources are allocated. This implies that equity in resource allocation will be determined by the distribution of accredited providers, and checks put in place to prohibit frivolous use. The current design does not explicitly mention how these two issues will be tackled. Lastly, there is no clarity on how the NHIS will fit into, and integrate within existing financing mechanisms.
Under the current NHIS design, the initial low coverage in the first years will inhibit optimal achievement of the important equity characteristics of pooling, cross-subsidisation and financial protection. Depending on the distribution of accredited providers and utilisation patterns, the NHIS could worsen existing disparities in access to services, given the fee-for-service reimbursement mechanisms currently proposed. Lastly, if equity in financing and resource allocation are not explicit objectives of the NHIS, it might inadvertently worsen the existing disparities in service provision.
Uganda implemented health sector reforms to make services more accessible to the population. An assessment of the likely impact of these reforms is important for informing policy. This paper describes the changes in utilization of health services that occurred among the poor and those in rural areas between 2002/3 and 2005/6 and associated factors.
Secondary data analysis was done using the socio-economic component of the Uganda National Household Surveys 2002/03 and 2005/06. The poor were identified from wealth quintiles constructed using an asset based index derived from Principal Components Analysis (PCA). The probability of choice of health care provider was assessed using multinomial logistic regression and multi-level statistical models.
The odds of not seeking care in 2005/6 were 1.79 times higher than in 2002/3 (OR = 1.79; 95% CI 1.65 - 1.94). The rural population experienced a 43% reduction in the risk of not seeking care because of poor geographical access (OR = 0.57; 95% CI 0.48 - 0.67). The risk of not seeking care due to high costs did not change significantly. Private for profit providers (PFP) were the major providers of services in 2002/3 and 2005/6. Using PFP as base category, respondents were more likely to have used private not for profit (PNFP) in 2005/6 than in 2002/3 (OR = 2.15; 95% CI 1.58 - 2.92), and also more likely to use public facilities in 2005/6 than 2002/3 (OR = 1.31; 95% CI 1.15 - 1.48). The most poor, females, rural residents, and those from elderly headed households were more likely to use public facilities relative to PFP.
Although overall utilization of public and PNFP services by rural and poor populations had increased, PFP remained the major source of care. The odds of not seeking care due to distance decreased in rural areas but cost continued to be an important barrier to seeking health services for residents from poor, rural, and elderly headed households. Policy makers should consider targeting subsidies to the poor and rural populations. Public private partnerships should be broadened to increase access to health services among the vulnerable.
Human resources are the most important assets of any health system, and health workforce problems have for decades limited the efficiency and quality of Latin America health systems. World Bank-led reforms aimed at increasing equity, efficiency, quality of care and user satisfaction did not attempt to resolve the human resources problems that had been identified in multiple health sector assessments. However, the two most important reform policies – decentralization and privatization – have had a negative impact on the conditions of employment and prompted opposition from organized professionals and unions. In several countries of the region, the workforce became the most important obstacle to successful reform.
This article is based on fieldwork and a review of the literature. It discusses the reasons that led health workers to oppose reform; the institutional and legal constraints to implementing reform as originally designed; the mismatch between the types of personnel needed for reform and the availability of professionals; the deficiencies of the reform implementation process; and the regulatory weaknesses of the region.
The discussion presents workforce strategies that the reforms could have included to achieve the intended goals, and the need to take into account the values and political realities of the countries. The authors suggest that autochthonous solutions are more likely to succeed than solutions imported from the outside.
Regulation of the pharmaceutical sector is a challenging task for most governments in the developing countries. In Tanzania, this task falls under the Food and Drugs Authority and the Pharmacy Council. In 2010, the Pharmacy Council spearheaded policy reforms in the pharmaceutical sector aimed at taking over the control of the regulation of the business of pharmacy from the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority. This study provides a critical analysis of these reforms.
The study employed a qualitative case-study design. Data was collected through in-depth interviews, focus group discussions and document reviews. Data was analyzed thematically using a policy triangle framework. The analysis was done manually.
The reforms adopted an incremental model of public policy-making and the process was characterized by lobbying for political support, negotiations and bargaining between the interest groups. These negotiations were largely centred on vested interests and not on the impact of the reforms on the efficiency of pharmaceutical regulations in the country. Stakeholders from the micro and meso levels were minimally involved in the policy reforms.
Recent pharmaceutical regulation reforms in Tanzania were overshadowed by vested interests, displacing a critical analysis of optimal policy options that have the potential to increase efficiency in the regulation of the business of pharmacy. Politics influenced decision-making at different levels of the reform process.
Tanzania; Pharmaceutical policy; Politics; Policy reforms; Policy actors; Pharmacy Act; Pharmacy Council; Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority
This article considers some of the effects of health sector reform on human resources for health (HRH) in developing countries and countries in transition by examining the effect of fiscal reform and the introduction of decentralisation and market mechanisms to the health sector.
Fiscal reform results in pressure to measure the staff outputs of the health sector. Financial decentralisation often leads to hospitals becoming "corporatised" institutions, operating with business principles but remaining in the public sector. The introduction of market mechanisms often involves the formation of an internal market within the health sector and market testing of different functions with the private sector. This has immediate implications for the employment of health workers in the public sector, because the public sector may reduce its workforce if services are purchased from other sectors or may introduce more short-term and temporary employment contracts.
Decentralisation of budgets and administrative functions can affect the health sector, often in negative ways, by reducing resources available and confusing lines of accountability for health workers. Governance and regulation of health care, when delivered by both public and private providers, require new systems of regulation.
The increase in private sector provision has led health workers to move to the private sector. For those remaining in the public sector, there are often worsening working conditions, a lack of employment security and dismantling of collective bargaining agreements.
Human resource development is gradually being recognised as crucial to future reforms and the formulation of health policy. New information systems at local and regional level will be needed to collect data on human resources. New employment arrangements, strengthening organisational culture, training and continuing education will also be needed.
Current policy statements discourage identification of disease carrier status in minors on the grounds that carrier information is of mainly reproductive significance. Such policies fail to consider that the carrier state may have important health implications for minors. They also fail to consider that carrier status of newborns is routinely discovered as an incidental finding in newborn screening programs. Finally, such policies fail to take into account that it may not be parents but adolescents who are seeking out this information and that adolescence may be a valid time to learn about one's reproductive risks. Here, I consider the issues that need to be addressed in revising current policies about the carrier detection of minors.
To analyze the effects of health reform efforts in two large states—New York and Massachusetts.
Data Sources/Study Setting
National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data from 1999 to 2008.
We take advantage of the “natural experiments” that occurred in New York and Massachusetts to compare health insurance coverage and health care access and use for adults before and after the implementation of the health policy changes. To control for underlying trends not related to the reform initiatives, we subtract changes in the outcomes over the same time period for comparison groups of adults who were not affected by the policy changes using a differences-in-differences framework. The analyses are conducted using multiple comparison groups and different time periods as a check on the robustness of the findings.
Data Collection/Extraction Methods
Nonelderly adults ages 19–64 in the NHIS.
We find evidence of the success of the initiatives in New York and Massachusetts at expanding insurance coverage, with the greatest gains reported by the initiative that was broadest in scope—the Massachusetts push toward universal coverage. There is no evidence of improvements in access to care in New York, reflecting the small gains in coverage under that state's reform effort and the narrow focus of the initiative. In contrast, there were significant gains in access to care in Massachusetts, where the impact on insurance coverage was greater and a more comprehensive set of reforms were implemented to improve access to a full array of health care services. The estimated gains in coverage and access to care reported here for Massachusetts were achieved in the early period under health reform, before the state's reform initiative was fully implemented.
Comprehensive reform initiatives are more successful at addressing gaps in coverage and access to care than are narrower efforts, highlighting the potential gains under national health reform. Tracking the implications of national health reform will be challenging, as sample sizes and content in existing national surveys are not currently sufficient for in-depth evaluations of the impacts of reform within many states.
Health reform; uninsurance; public coverage; employer-sponsored insurance coverage; crowd-out; health care access and use
An empirical study in Lower Saxony aimed to investigate any changes in primary care physicians' diagnostic and therapeutic strategies as a result of Germany's 1993 health reform act (known as the Gesundheitsstruktur Gesetz or GSG), which included the countrywide implementation of a strict drug budget. A sentinel network consisting of a 37% sample of 350 randomly selected doctors (n = 130, GPs, general internists) was established in Lower Saxony. Four cross sectional surveys, each focussing on one group of health problems, were carried out during 1993. These aimed to show whether sentinel practice networks are suitable for reporting physicians' attitudes towards health care cost containment policies and, secondly, changes in physicians' quantitative and qualitative assessments of the 1993 reform act during its first year of implementation. Participating physicians reported patient consultations (n = 3728). Standardised questionnaires ascertained sociodemographic variables and major reasons for the patients' visit. Data on the diagnoses associated with the patient's main reason for the consultation, the doctor's assessment of the severity of the problem, and diagnostic and treatment strategies were also recorded. The questionnaire focussed on changes in therapy made by the physician together with the reasons for these changes. A number of treatment changes made with regard to cost containment were recorded. During the course of 1993 a decrease in reported changes in treatment was noticed. As expected, some doctors recorded a reduction in successful outcomes of treatment and ascribed this to the reform act. Differences between the four surveys with regard to the influence of the health reform act on the frequency of changes in treatment and the physicians' expectations cannot be explained sufficiently by the physicians' adaptation to the cost containment policies within the year.
In 2005, the State of New Mexico undertook a sweeping transformation of all publicly funded behavioral health services. The reform was intended to enhance the cultural responsiveness and appropriateness of these services. To examine achievement of this objective, we conducted a qualitative study of the involvement of Native Americans in reform efforts and the subsequent impacts of reform on services for Native Americans. We found that the reform was relatively unsuccessful at creating mechanisms for genuine community input or improving behavioral health care for this population. These shortcomings were related to limited understandings of administrators concerning how tribal governments and health care systems operate, and the structural limitations of a managed care system that does not allow flexibility for culturally appropriate utilization review, screening, or treatment. However, interaction between the State and tribes increased, and we conclude that aspects of the reform could be strengthened to achieve more meaningful involvement and service improvements.
Aboriginal people; North America; evidence-based practice; health care disparities; health care; access to; health care; remote / rural; health policy / policy analysis; mental health and illness
The relationship between health sector reform and the human resources issues raised in that process has been highlighted in several studies. These studies have focused on how the new processes have modified the ways in which health workers interact with their workplace, but few of them have paid enough attention to the ways in which the workers have influenced the reforms.
The impact of health sector reform has modified critical aspects of the health workforce, including labor conditions, degree of decentralization of management, required skills and the entire system of wages and incentives. Human resources in health, crucial as they are in implementing changes in the delivery system, have had their voice heard in many subtle and open ways – reacting to transformations, supporting, blocking and distorting the proposed ways of action.
This work intends to review the evidence on how the individual or collective actions of human resources are shaping the reforms, by spotlighting the reform process, the workforce reactions and the factors determining successful human resources participation. It attempts to provide a more powerful way of predicting the effects and interactions in which different "technical designs" operate when they interact with the human resources they affect. The article describes the dialectic nature of the relationship between the objectives and strategies of the reforms and the objectives and strategies of those who must implement them.
The medical component of workers' compensation programs-now costing over $24 billion annually-and the rest of the nation's medical care system are linked. They share the same patients and providers. They provide similar benefits and services. And they struggle over who should pay for what. Clearly, health care reform and restructuring will have a major impact on the operation and expenditures of the workers' compensation system. For a brief period, during the 1994 national health care reform debate, these two systems were part of the same federal policy development and legislative process. With comprehensive health care reform no longer on the horizon, states now are tackling both workers' compensation and medical system reforms on their own. This paper reviews the major issues federal and state policy makers face as they consider reforms affecting the relationship between workers' compensation and traditional health insurance. What is the relationship of the workers' compensation cost crisis to that in general health care? What strategies are being considered by states involved in reforming the medical component of workers compensation? What are the major policy implications of these strategies?
The functions of the health system, according to the key objectives and relationships within the sub-systems that are available to the policy makers and managers in the Health Care system in Bosnia and Herzegovina – B&H, have been elaborated in detail, with the analytical overview of relevant indicators, thus confirming the limitations of the health promotion in B&H. The ability to overcome the expressed problems is in the startup of process for structural adjustment of the health sector, reform of the health care system and its financing. The reform in health system implies fundamental changes that need to take place, in B&H, as a state in health policy and institutions in the health care system, in order to improve the functioning of health systems with the aim of ensuring better health of the population. Reform implies the existence of documents with clearly formulated health policy objectives, for which the state stands, and for which a consensus was reached on the national level with all key actors in the political structure: public promotion of the basic principles for carrying out the reform, its implementation within a reasonable time frame, the corresponding effects for providers and customer satisfaction, as well as improving health services’ efficacy (i.e. micro and macro) and the quality of healthcare. In this article, we elaborated the criteria for the classification of health systems, whereby the scientifically-based and empirical analysis is conducted on the health system in B&H and elaborated the key levers of the system. Leveraged organizational arrangements relating to the economic and political environment, organization and management functions, in connection with the services of finance, funds, customers and service providers, from which it follows the framework of state legislation related to health policy and health institutions at the state level are responsible for finance, planning, the organization, payment, regulation and conduct. If we start from the administrative criteria for the classification of “health sub-systems” in B&H, it is difficult to fit them in a pluralistic, decentralized or monistic, because in the system for each organization, there should be health policy at the state level, which is in the most countries represents the Ministry of Health.
Health Insurance Fund of the Tuzla Canton; Services of finance; payment of health services.
Following a situation appraisal in 2001, a six year mental health reform programme (Egymen) 2002-7 was initiated by an Egyptian-Finnish bilateral aid project at the request of a former Egyptian minister of health, and the work was incorporated directly into the Ministry of Health and Population from 2007 onwards. This paper describes the aims, methodology and implementation of the mental health reforms and mental health policy in Egypt 2002-2009.
A multi-faceted and comprehensive programme which combined situation appraisal to inform planning; establishment of a health sector system for coordination, supervision and training of each level (national, governorate, district and primary care); development workshops; production of toolkits, development of guidelines and standards; encouragement of intersectoral liaison at each level; integration of mental health into health management systems; and dedicated efforts to improve forensic services, rehabilitation services, and child psychiatry services.
The project has achieved detailed situation appraisal, epidemiological needs assessment, inclusion of mental health into the health sector reform plans, and into the National Package of Essential Health Interventions, mental health masterplan (policy guidelines) to accompany the general health policy, updated Egyptian mental health legislation, Code of Practice, adaptation of the WHO primary care guidelines, primary care training, construction of a quality system of roles and responsibilities, availability of medicines at primary care level, public education about mental health, and a research programme to inform future developments. Intersectoral liaison with education, social welfare, police and prisons at national level is underway, but has not yet been established for governorate and district levels, nor mental health training for police, prison staff and teachers.
The bilateral collaboration programme initiated a reform programme which has been sustained beyond the end of the funding. The project has demonstrated the importance of using a multi-faceted and comprehensive programme to promote sustainable system change, key elements of which include a focus on the use of rapid appropriate treatment at primary care level, strengthening the referral system, interministerial and intersectoral liaison, rehabilitation, and media work to mobilize community engagement.
New Zealand's health sector has undergone three significant restructures within 10 years. The most recent has involved a Primary Health Care Strategy, launched in 2001. Primary Health Organisations (PHOs), administered by 21 District Health Boards, are the local structures for implementing the Primary Health Care Strategy. Ninety-three percent of the New Zealand population is now enrolled within 79 PHOs, which pose a challenge to the well-established Independent Practitioner Associations (IPAs).
Although there was initial widespread support for the philosophy underlying the Primary Health Care Strategy, there are concerns amongst general practitioners (GPs) and their professional organisations relating to its implementation. These centre around 6 main issues:
1. Loss of autonomy
2. Inadequate management funding and support
3. Inconsistency and variations in contracting processes
4. Lack of publicity and advice around enrolment issues
5. Workforce and workload issues
6. Financial risks
On the other hand, many GPs are feeling positive regarding the opportunities for PHOs, particularly for being involved in the provision of a wider range of community health services. Australia has much to learn from New Zealand's latest health sector and primary health care reforms.
The key lessons concern:
• the need for a national primary health care strategy
• active engagement of general practitioners and their professional organisations
• recognition of implementation costs
• the need for infrastructural support, including information technology and quality systems
• robust management and governance arrangements
• issues related to critical mass and population/distance trade offs in service delivery models
Rather than improving efficiency, the reforms imposed on the NHS have increased bureaucracy, reduced patient choice, limited the range of core services, and led to inequity of treatment. In this paper I examine how the medical profession might help to solve these problems. Priorities must be set for health care since no government can afford all the possibilities offered by medical science. It is essential to forge a consensus of patients, carers, professionals, the public, and government if a system of priorities is to be equitable and just. We also need to be able to measure quality of outcome in health care. This requires consensus on what is the desired outcome and the development of appropriate guidelines, audit, and performance review. This is primarily a task for the health professions supported by management and by adequate investment. Basically, the government must reinstate the three traditional values of the NHS--equity, consensus, and regard for representative professional advice.
The Norwegian hospital reform of 2002 was an attempt to make restructuring of hospitals easier by removing politicians from the decision-making processes. To facilitate changes seen as necessary but politically difficult, the central state took over ownership of the hospitals and stripped the county politicians of what had been their main responsibility for decades. This meant that decisions regarding hospital structure and organization were now being taken by professional administrators and not by politically elected representatives. The question raised here is whether this has had any effect on the speed of restructuring of the hospital sector.
The empirical part is a case study of the restructuring process in Innlandet Hospital Trust (IHT), which was one of the largest enterprise established after the hospital reform and where the vision for restructuring was clearly set. Different sources of qualitative data are used in the analysis. These include interviews with key actors, observational data and document studies.
The analysis demonstrates how the new professional leaders at first acted in accordance with the intentions of the hospital reform, but soon chose to avoid the more ambitious plans for restructuring the hospital structure and in fact reintroduced local politics into the decision-making process. The analysis further illustrates how local networks and engagement of political representatives from all levels of government complicated the decision-making process surrounding local structural reforms. Local political representatives teamed up with other actors and created powerful networks. At the same time, national politicians had incentives to involve themselves in the processes as supporters of the status quo.
Because of the incentives that faced political actors and the controversial nature of major hospital reforms, the removal of local politicians and the centralization of ownership did not necessarily facilitate reforms in the hospital structure. Keeping politics at an arm's length may simply be unrealistic and further complicate the politics of local hospital reforms.
In this paper, we use publicly available data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey - Insurance Component (MEPS-IC) to investigate the effect of Massachusetts’ health reform plan on employer-sponsored insurance premiums. We tabulate premium growth for private-sector employers in Massachusetts and the United States as a whole for 2004 – 2008. We estimate the effect of the plan as the difference in premium growth between Massachusetts and the United States between 2006 and 2008—that is, before versus after the plan—over and above the difference in premium growth for 2004 to 2006. We find that health reform in Massachusetts increased single-coverage employer-sponsored insurance premiums by about 6 percent, or $262. Although our research design has important limitations, it does suggest that policy makers should be concerned about the consequences of health reform for the cost of private insurance.
Health research systems consist of diverse groups who have some role in health research, but the boundaries around such a system are not clear-cut. To explore what various stakeholders need we reviewed the literature including that on the history of English health R&D reforms, and we also applied some relevant conceptual frameworks.
We first describe the needs and capabilities of the main groups of stakeholders in health research systems, and explain key features of policymaking systems within which these stakeholders operate in the UK. The five groups are policymakers (and health care managers), health professionals, patients and the general public, industry, and researchers. As individuals and as organisations they have a range of needs from the health research system, but should also develop specific capabilities in order to contribute effectively to the system and benefit from it.
Second, we discuss key phases of reform in the development of the English health research system over four decades - especially that of the English Department of Health's R&D system - and identify how far legitimate demands of key stakeholder interests were addressed.
Third, in drawing lessons we highlight points emerging from contemporary reports, but also attempt to identify issues through application of relevant conceptual frameworks. The main lessons are: the importance of comprehensively addressing the diverse needs of various interacting institutions and stakeholders; the desirability of developing facilitating mechanisms at interfaces between the health research system and its various stakeholders; and the importance of additional money in being able to expand the scope of the health research system whilst maintaining support for basic science.
We conclude that the latest health R&D strategy in England builds on recent progress and tackles acknowledged weaknesses. The strategy goes a considerable way to identifying and more effectively meeting the needs of key groups such as medical academics, patients and industry, and has been remarkably successful in increasing the funding for health research. There are still areas that might benefit from further recognition and resourcing, but the lessons identified, and progress made by the reforms are relevant for the design and coordination of national health research systems beyond England.
OBJECTIVE: To determine primary care physicians' perceptions of their role in a reformed health system. DESIGN: Qualitative study using in-depth interviews. SETTING: Province of Nova Scotia. PARTICIPANTS: Purposefully selected sample of 14 practising primary care physicians. MAIN OUTCOME FINDINGS: Participants identified seven aspects of their role: primarily, diagnosis and treatment of patient's medical problems; then coordination, counseling, education, advocacy, disease prevention, and gatekeeping. The range of activities and degree of responsibility assumed by participants, however, varied. Factors affecting role perception fell into three categories: philosophical view of health and medicine, willingness to collaborate, and practical realities. Participants differed in their understanding of primary health care and their overall vision of the health system. Remuneration policies and concerns about sharing accountability were factors preventing an integrated, collaborative approach to care. Personal, patient, and structural realities also limited physicians' roles. CONCLUSIONS: This sample of primary care physicians had diverse perceptions of their role. Results of this study could provide information for identifying issues that need to be addressed to facilitate changes taking place in the health care system.
To apply a policy-analysis framework to the athletic training educational reform policy that will be fully implemented by January 2004.
Policy analysis is not a specific science. No one framework exists for conducting all policy analyses. I used literature from the education, policy analysis, and athletic training fields as data sources to provide background and to create a framework from which to conduct the policy analysis.
Once the policy-analysis framework was selected, I began data synthesis, using several athletic training sources in support of the findings. The tension among the myriad stakeholders in this policy is clear. Although many see the benefits of accreditation, some experience hardships from the imposed policy.
Of the 4 possible alternatives suggested, following the route currently under implementation (Committee on Accreditation of Health Education Programs accreditation) was the most agreeable solution. The goals as stated by the policy makers are attained by the policy. However, issues within the accreditation process itself need to be addressed. Of the many stakeholders in the reform effort, some will see little gain and have many hardships imposed on them. As the policy is implemented, unintended implications will likely arise, as with any new policy. Thus, I recommend that the National Athletic Trainers' Association develop a system dedicated solely to reducing the hardships faced by many of its members as the policy is implemented.
policy evaluation; certified athletic trainer; National Athletic Trainers' Association; Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
Public health services in the Soviet Union and its satellite states in Central and Eastern Europe were delivered through centrally planned and managed networks of sanitary-epidemiological (san-epid) facilities. Many countries sought to reform this service following the political transition in the 1990s. In this paper we describe the major themes within these reforms.
A review of literature was conducted. A conceptual framework was developed to guide the review, which focused on the two traditional core public health functions of the san-epid system: communicable disease surveillance, prevention and control and environmental health. The review included twenty-two former communist countries in the former Soviet Union (fSU) and in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).
The countries studied fall into two broad groups. Reforms were more extensive in the CEE countries than in the fSU. The CEE countries have moved away from the former centrally managed san-epid system, adopting a variety of models of decentralization. The reformed systems remain mainly funded centrally level, but in some countries there are contributions by local government. In almost all countries, epidemiological surveillance and environmental monitoring remained together under a single organizational umbrella but in a few responsibilities for environmental health have been divided among different ministries.
Progress in reform of public health services has varied considerably. There is considerable scope to learn from the differing experiences but also a need for rigorous evaluation of how public health functions are provided.
Unsafe abortion is a significant contributor to worldwide maternal mortality; however, abortion law and policy liberalization could lead to drops in unsafe abortion and related deaths. This review provides an analysis of changes in abortion mortality in three countries where significant policy reform and related service delivery occurred. Drawing on peer-reviewed literature, population data and grey literature on programs and policies, this paper demonstrates the policy and program changes that led to declines in abortion-related mortality in Romania, South Africa and Bangladesh. In all three countries, abortion policy liberalization was followed by implementation of safe abortion services and other reproductive health interventions. South Africa and Bangladesh trained mid-level providers to offer safe abortion and menstrual regulation services, respectively, Romania improved contraceptive policies and services, and Bangladesh made advances in emergency obstetric care and family planning. The findings point to the importance of multi-faceted and complementary reproductive health reforms in successful implementation of abortion policy reform.