Access to healthcare and health services


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Access to healthcare and health services

The 2014 International Summit of Co-operatives will debate access to healthcare and health services through co-operative models

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The provision of healthcare and health services is currently facing a process of insurmountable inflation. Increased life expectancy and scientific progress mean a growing demand for health services associated both with the illnesses caused by old age and those which are today not fatal, thanks to medical progress, but are chronic conditions requiring costly life-long treatment.

Health costs are therefore typically one of the main concerns of governments, and at a time of recession or little growth, with health expenditure competing against other items of the state budget, citizens are finding it increasingly difficult to access healthcare.

Faced with this situation, innovation is required in forging solutions which can adapt to the population’s growing needs. It is vital that we do things differently in order for health systems to be sustainable in the long term. The different health co-operative models are, despite their long-standing experience, cutting-edge systems offering a response to the challenges involved in access to health services. Doctors’ co-operatives in Brazil, consumers’ co-operatives guaranteeing well-being and medical services in Japan, social care co-operatives in Italy, co-operatives bringing together both doctors and patients in Spain, the pharmaceutical co-operatives of Belgium. All these enterprises are creative and innovative examples called on to inspire the initiatives which will face up to the challenge of universal health provision raised by the World Health Organization.

With the aim of showcasing these experiences and encouraging debate, the 2014 International Summit of Co-operatives to be held from 6 to 9 October in Quebec, Canada, has chosen access to healthcare and health services as one of the key conference issues, and the focus of revealing studies and debates by leading experts.

The International Summit of Co-operatives was held for the first time in 2012, attracting almost 2800 participants from 91 different countries. They heard addresses by 156 speakers who had the opportunity to explain the different focuses and experiences of co-operative enterprises, presenting reports documenting in economic and business terms how co-operatives provide a solid and dependable solution to current and future crises.

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