50th Anniversary of Assistència Sanitària Col.legial


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50th Anniversary of Assistència Sanitària Col.legial

More than two thousand people gathered at Barcelona’s Auditorium on 1 October 2007 to celebrate the 50th birthday of Assistència Sanitària Col.legial, at an event attended by the senior management of Grup Assistència and the ASISA Group, along with doctors from Autogestió Sanitària and representatives from every field of the medical profession (universities, professional associations, unions and academics). The ceremony was hosted by the Health Minister of the Catalan Regional Government, Dr Marina Geli.

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The event began with the screening of a retrospective video analysing the origins and development of Dr Espriu’s social health care project which gave rise to the various bodies that today make up the ASC Group (ASC, Autogestió, SCIAS, Montepio de Previsió d’ASC, CECOEL and BIOPAT), as well as Lavinia-ASISA and the Espriu Foundation, with the active role played by the latter in the International Health Co-operatives Organisation (IHCO). With almost 200,000 users, ASC today occupies a key position within Spain’s private health care sector.

The film was followed by an address from the Chairman of the ASC Group, Dr Ignacio Orce (photo), who highlighted the fact that it is doctors who have made possible the 50-year history of Autogestió-ASC, “both those who are here and those who can no longer be with us”. He meanwhile thanked all those present for “forming part of a project like this, which places people before money, service before business”, showing that at a time when the image of the profession is in crisis, “doctors, where there are no intermediaries, can perfectly manage their profession”. He also highlighted the fact that “this organisation provides the best payments for doctors on their retirement, and is the only one which allows users to play a role. For many of them, private health care is a replacement for the public service, something which should be remembered”. Dr Orce finally stressed the fact that ASC had succeeded in “maintaining its independence over half a century, something which has been far from easy, above all at certain times. Today, with an ageing population and advances in biomedicine, the challenges which face us are considerable. But thanks to you, we have 50 years of success behind us”.

In her address, Health Minister Geli congratulated the ASC on its history of service and had words of praise for the figure of Dr Espriu. “This initiative has given many individuals, mostly workers, access to quality medicine which was previously the preserve of a small segment of the population,” she acknowledged, while also mentioning the huge changes seen in the world of health over the last 20 years, necessitating “a wide-ranging debate as to the sustainability of the system. Everything needs to be reinterpreted. The balance struck between public and private sectors will have to be capable of providing this kind of quality medicine”. Finally, she reiterated her department’s support for ASC: “many people trust in you, and for that reason we will continue to stand by your side”.

The event concluded with a comic show by theatre group El Tricicle, who took the opportunity to perform some of the numbers from their forthcoming work, Garrick, including a large number of gags based on the world of medicine. The spirit of community among those present was once again evident at the dinner which was served afterwards. Everyone there shared the same concern: to ensure that Assistència Sanitària Col.legial continues to play its flagship role within private, self-managed, quality healthcare for another 50 years.

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