GHP January 2016

ghp January 2016 | 19 overview In Search of the Perfect Health System Tell us about your book. It’s an attempt to distil more than six years of relent- less travel trying to improve health systems and organ- isations around the world. The first part identifies the twelve components of different countries that I think would constitute the ‘perfect’ system. The second part is a guide to the 24 most interesting and innovative health systems I’ve encountered during my travels. Each country has its own chapter outlining the good, the bad and the ugly. The third part draws together lessons and best practice on the big global challenges in healthcare – like ageing, universal health coverage, quality improvement and climate change. I highlight why systems are often so slow to respond meaningful- ly to these challenges, and what innovations we would all do well to learn from. Who is the audience for the book? I like to the think it’s for health practitioners with an interest in policy and policymakers with an interest in improving practice. The field of global health has ex- ploded over the last decade, and even those working at the coalface of local organisations are increasingly seeing the relevance of knowing about and learning from other systems. I also hope that patient groups, politicians and students in global health will dip in and out of the book. How is the book unique to others in the market? There are other books comparing different health sys- tems, but they have a tendency to be quite academic and dense. This book draws on a lot of research we’ve done on these countries, but it also draws on insights from meetings with hundreds of leaders and public officials running health services in these countries. While I respect and protect the confidentiality of clients, the book is able to highlight some of the every- day feel and ‘mood on the ground’ of each system. I’ve spent all my professional life being a healthcare leader and my book is written from this perspective. In this sense, therefore, it’s unique. What experience did you draw on to write the book? Over the last six years as KPMG’s Global Chairman for Healthcare I’ve worked in 60 different countries, with governments, hospitals, home care providers, insur- ers, patients and physicians groups. Before that I had 20 years’ experience in the NHS, running a teaching hospital, a region of England from Oxford to the Isle of Wight, and eventually as a Director General of the Department of Health. How do you believe your book could potentially change the market/ way healthcare is provided for the better? The central message of the book is that every health system has something to teach and something to learn. I hope the book encourages those working in healthcare to look up and out, to learn from the incredible innovations of others, and their repeated mistakes. I hope I can challenge particular prejudic- es that people might have about certain countries, or highlight the great achievements of lesser known systems. A new book by Mark Britnell investigates health systems around the world, seeking to showcase the best ideas from different countries which could be combined to create the perfect service.