Dr. Josep Espriu

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Dr. Josep Espriu

Dr. Josep Espriu is the worldwide ambassador for co-operative healthcare par excellence. He was born in 1914 in Santa Coloma de Farners (Girona) and graduated in Medicine and Surgery from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Barcelona in 1942. He was a general practitioner in the Gràcia district of Barcelona and also worked for the Social Security.

It was precisely during this experience that Josep Espriu felt the need to seek another way to practice medicine in a dignified and non-discriminatory manner, depending on each patient’s possibilities. In the 50s in Bilbao, he discovered first-hand a system where doctors acted as owners and professionals within a model of free choice of doctor and pay-per-medical act.

In addition, Dr. Josep Espriu’s interest for the co-operative model led him to try and extend co-operativism to the healthcare sector as the best way to guarantee access to health. He rapidly promoted the creation of Assistència Sanitària in Barcelona, supported by the Medical Association and which opened its first policy on 1 January 1960. Consequently, he extended the initial model throughout Spain by creating Asisa.

I have striven to serve ideas which are just and also simple: patients should speak in confidence to their doctors, doctors should love their patients, and nothing and nobody should stand between them.

He also promoted the setting-up of the users’ co-operative SCIAS, which brought together all Assistència Sanitària users whilst also promoting the creation of Barcelona Hospital.

The permanent transformation of his institutions, based on co-operative values and principles, was formalised with the foundation of the Lavinia co-operative at a national scale.

The Espriu Foundation currently serves as an umbrella structure for a large network of health companies led by the groups Asisa and Assistència Sanitària, which has leading hospitals such as Barcelona Hospital and the HLA Moncloa University Hospital in Madrid.

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