Every year, NL SUPPORT facilitates a priority-setting process for the TPMI in order to ensure that work undertaken by the initiative addresses healthcare needs that are important to residents of Newfoundland and Labrador. These priorities are most prominently reflected in the Patient-Oriented Research Grants competition, but are used to direct work and allocate resources across the TPMI.
For the 2017–2018 priority setting process, NL SUPPORT decided to keep the survey but refine and simplify the instructions to increase the response rate.
NL SUPPORT’s KT Lead (Kate Lambert) and Research Officer worked to convert the survey from a booklet to a single, one-sided sheet and eliminate the ranking system altogether. Respondents were asked to select four priorities, in no particular order. The questionnaire was developed in consultation with the QCNL/CWNL Working Group, who identified seven priority areas coordinated across priority documents produced by the Faculty of Medicine, the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, and the provincial government. Plain language statements were developed based on each of those priorities:
· Not enough is being done in this province to help people with mental health and addictions issues. (Mental health and addictions)
· It’s hard for people in my community to get the care they need when they leave the hospital or have a long-term illness like diabetes. (Community support and services)
· My community doesn’t have enough access to health care professionals, such as nurses, doctors, and pharmacists. (Access to primary health care)
· People in my community have to wait too long to get care when they need it. (Health care management)
· More should be done to make sure that seniors in our province receive the level of care that best meets their needs. (Seniors care/long-term care)
· We need to make sure that the right patients get the right treatments at the right time. (Sustainable health care/efficient use of resources)
· More should be done to find and help people at risk of getting diseases like cancer so they stay healthier for longer. (Preventive care)
1000 hard copies were distributed via Canada Post during the final week of March 2018. Communities in each of the four Regional Health Authorities (RHA) were targeted to ensure that each RHA was represented proportionately by population:
· 60% Eastern Health
· 18% Central Health
· 15% Western Health
· 7% Labrador-Grenfell Health
At the same time, the web-based version went live and was heavily promoted on social media and through the contacts developed by Kate during last year’s dissemination efforts. Partner networks include the regional wellness coalitions, municipalities throughout the province, Western Health’s Community Advisory Committees, and local patient-focused non-profits. Hard copies were received until mid-May and the online version of the survey was closed by mid-June to maximize responses.
In total, the response far exceeded last year’s results. 985 surveys were received and the top four responses were:
1. People in my community have to wait too long to get care when they need it. (Health care management)
2. Not enough is being done in this province to help people with mental health and addictions issues. (Mental health and addictions)
3. We need to make sure that the right patients get the right treatments at the right time. (Sustainable health care/efficient use of resources)
4. More should be done to make sure that seniors in our province receive the level of care that best meets their needs. (Seniors care/long-term care)
These priorities will be used to direct our Development Grants program, and other funding programs managed by NL SUPPORT as well as work done under the aegis of TPMI as necessary.