As we met on Day one to discuss integrated care it was quickly apparent that this term meant different things for health care in South Africa, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Peru and the UK to name just five of the eighteen countries represented this year. We helped participants to represent their diverse perspectives visually, creating a panel focused on the term ‘no wrong door for the patient.’ The visual representation was seen by many as a key highlight of the programme, and participants acknowledged the role they have as leaders in working within their local resources and diverse contexts.
As the programme progressed, the participants, stimulated by a range of presentations, discussed and challenged the differences and similarities in their understanding of other themes such as mental health and dementia, innovation in health, contracting and payment methods and wellness. Through field trips and sharing information on individual projects, this community of leaders made a paradigm shift from some traditional views that ‘West is best’ to understanding that they can co-create solutions, taking the best from developed economies as well as learning from the innovation found in emerging economies.
As one participant, Murray Ross, explored the impact that President Obama’s attempt to get his health reforms through was having on the imminent US elections, participants were reminded of the impact politics has on the provision of health. One of the group’s collective wishes was for politicians to show leadership in letting positive health care reforms (irrespective of genesis) the time they need to deliver improvements and to stop unleashing new programmes with each successive political changeover.
The event was a timely reminder of the contrast between the ‘entitlement culture’ that can operate in developed economies – including our own NHS – and the ‘working within the limits of our means’ that countries such as Brazil, Kenya and India bring to meeting global health challenges.
One thing that united all participants was a belief that great leadership was needed to meet the global health challenges of the next 10 years. In concluding comments, participants said that the Forum had helped them think of ‘ideas to improve health care’. We hope that this dialogue will continue to progress in line with The King’s Fund’s mission ‘ideas that change health care.’ We have a lot to learn from each other.
Views from the Global Health Leadership Forum
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