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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2006): Healthcare - Overseas

A. Wahlberg

Health, vol.10, 2006, p.123-147

Article demonstrates how traditional herbal medicine came to be recruited as an important component of national efforts to promote the health of urban and rural populations in Vietnam. This has entailed the rejection of the colonial era view of traditional herbal medicine as “quackery” in favour of promotion of its appropriate use under the postcolonial Communist government. Vietnam’s ancient history of medicine, postcolonial isolation and extensive health delivery network have resulted in a unique strategy that encourages rural populations to become self-sufficient in the herbal treatment of their most common illnesses.

D. Keller, J. Gabe and G. Williams (editors)

London: Routledge, 2006

The book offers a reappraisal of current changes to health care delivery services and analyses their effects on the status and practice of the health professionals. It also provides a debate on the challenges posed from within medicine by nurses, managers and alternative practitioners, and from outside by self-help groups, the women’s movement and the media.

R. Knight

Financial Times, April 13th 2006, p.11

Touted as a national trail blazer for universal healthcare without centralised government control, a ground breaking Massachusetts law will, under threat of tax penalties, compel all residents who do not qualify for Medicaid assistance to obtain low cost, private healthcare cover.

C. Blouin, N. Drager and R. Smith (editors)

Washington: World Bank, 2006

Health ministries around the world face the new challenge of assessing the risks and responding to the opportunities presented by the increasing openness of international trade in health services under the World Trade Organization’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). This book addresses the challenge by providing analytical tools for policymakers who are involved in the liberalization agenda and, specifically, in the GATS negotiations. It provides a detailed legal analysis of the impact of the agreement on health policy and an overview of trade commitments in health-related services. The opportunities and the risks linked to trade in health services are explored.

R. Grilli and F. Taroni

Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, vol.11, 2006, p.89-93

Expensive health care innovations create tensions between the goals of providing universal access to high quality medical care and controlling costs in tax-financed systems. This paper explores these issues, using the adoption of sirolimus eluting stents (an expensive but promising innovation for percutaneous coronary interventions) in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy as a case study. The innovation was adopted through a process combining development of clinical guidelines, targeting the use of the stents on selected high risk patients, and organisation of a registry for monitoring utilisation and assessing effectiveness.

R. Winterton and G. Thomas

Public Finance, March 31st-Apr. 6th 2006, p.22-24

The UK government has banned the active recruitment of health professionals from developing countries to work in the NHS. The Department for International Development is providing funding to improve the salaries and working conditions of nurses and doctors in the poorest countries to encourage them to stay put. Article calls on other rich countries to put ethical recruitment policies in place.

B. Jennings

Sociology of Health and Illness, vol.28, 2006, p.350-375

This analysis of the role of moral principles in physician control over medical decision-making is based on an ethnographic study of three Intensive Care Units in the USA from 1999-2001. Two of the units were using the computerised decision-support tool APACHE-III, which predicts the probability that a patient will die. To maintain jurisdiction over the care of patients, physicians share the APACHE-III data with the institutions paying for and regulating care in order show that they are using resources effectively and efficiently. At the same time they use the system in conjunction with moral principles to justify treating each patient as unique. Thus concern for the individual patient is not lessened by the use of this system. However, they do not share the data with patients or their relatives for fear of being viewed as interested solely in profits.

Possession of health insurance in Australia: how does it affect hospital use and outcomes?

K. Brameld, D. Holman and R. Moorin

Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, vol.11, 2006, p.94-100

In 1999 the Commonwealth government in Australia began to introduce policies to increase uptake of private health insurance to reduce pressure on public hospitals through increased use of private facilities. This study looks at the effect of possession of private health insurance on hospital use in Western Australia 1994-99, controlling for age, sex, socio-economic status, locational disadvantage and co-morbidity. The main finding of the study was that possession of private health insurance increased patients’ access to surgical procedures.

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