Collaboration and synergies - vital for healthcare sustainability


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Collaboration and synergies - vital for healthcare sustainability

Health cooperatives provide an exemplary model that represents a third way as an alternative to public and private systems

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Health cooperatives provide an exemplary model that represents a third way as an alternative to public and private systems

Spain's health system faces numerous challenges, above all the sustainability of the system itself. Sustainability in economic and environmental terms, and also socially. One of the barriers to such sustainability is the wide range of factors on which people's health depends, which are in many cases unpredictable, preventing a precise forecast of what will be needed in order to address all healthcare requirements and services.

Nonetheless, the set of both public and private bodies, organisations and institutions which make up a comprehensive healthcare system must follow a path that will ensure universal healthcare, while at the same time comprising a sustainable system.

Over recent decades, technological and scientific innovations in both diagnosing and treating disease have made great contributions in underpinning quality healthcare. In order to maintain equal health rights, then, so as to fulfil the principle of fairness guaranteed by the Spanish Constitution, cutting-edge technology and the most innovative treatments must be equally available at all establishments.

However, the economic crisis of recent years has left the public health system deeply shaken, with a consequent impact on both technical and staffing resources, reflected in a worsening of access and of the range of healthcare services available. The great challenge of today is therefore to deliver healthcare of the same quality for all.

In this regard, health cooperatives provide an exemplary model that represents a third way as an alternative to public and private systems. As a model established within the social economy, this type of system has proven itself to be better able to withstand moments of crisis or economic recession than more traditional approaches. This is precisely because of its co-operative nature, which means that all economic benefits are reinvested in the organisation itself, in turn leading to constant renewal and hence continuous improvements reflected in a high quality service.

Which is why collaboration among the different parties which make up the structure of the healthcare system has a fundamental part to play as we move towards the universalisation of healthcare. We must first analyse and understand the current framework with which we are dealing, which is one of limited resources. This constraint makes it essential to coordinate and maximise the efficacy of resources, and to establish a series of priorities shared by society as a whole.

We must then propose and validate a genuine, accessible and universal portfolio of basic services which is shared by all bodies and maintains a balance between existing demand and the available financial resources. A depoliticised and unified agreement must likewise be forged among the different public and private agents, governed by strictly medical values and with people taking priority over capital, as championed by the co-operative model.

Of and for the people

It is lastly important to involve all healthcare professionals and patients on an equal footing. The latter must feel themselves part of the healthcare system, with an acceptance of their responsibility and an awareness of their importance in the sustainability and development of the system itself.

The health sector must be of and for the people, on the basis that healthcare is a fundamental right which must be a priority for all societies, with those in positions of power being required to defend, protect and develop this right in all directions, while furthermore taking into account all available options. It is specifically here that bodies that are not strictly public in nature can make their contribution, by creating strong collaborative ties and synergies, resulting in a health network with greater reach and quality

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