Third sector co-operative healthcare supports Healthcare in Spain


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Third sector co-operative healthcare supports Healthcare in Spain

Coinciding with International Universal Health Coverage Day, The Espriu Foundation, second largest co-operative healthcare network in the world, announced that third sector co-operative healthcare complements public and private healthcare in our country.

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In 2017, 2.2 million people were assisted in Spain under this social medical model governed by the principles of Social Economy: the primacy of people and social objective over capital, reinvestment of profits and democratic governance.

Taking into account Spain's ageing society and illnesses becoming chronic, public spending is expected to continue increasing. Health co-operatives see themselves as a complementary tool to collaborate with the National Health System on this issue, by freeing up resources and achieving sustainability.

"In our country, co-operative healthcare is an essential strategic ally for the public health system, contributing significantly to its universality and sustainability, by freeing up resources and generating savings, at the same time as improving the accessibility and quality of the healthcare service", says Carlos Zarco, Managing Director of the Espriu Foundation.



The WHO calls for universal accessibility and patient-centred service

Just as the World Health Organisation (WHO) advises, universal healthcare coverage is based firmly in the WHO Constitution of 1948, which states that health is a basic human right and commits to guaranteeing everyone the best possible standard of health.

As a consequence, under the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), all United Nations Member States have agreed to try and achieve universal healthcare coverage by 2030.

In line with this agreement, the WHO has indicated, on a number of occasions, the importance of people-centred healthcare. In fact, in May 2016, the organisation approved a framework for integrated people-centred health services.

At the Espriu Foundation focus on the nature of health co-operatives themselves, where the patient-doctor relationship is based on satisfying them both. There are no intermediaries and decisions are taken directly and jointly between them, making this an economically viable business model for guaranteeing medicine in the service of society.

They comment, "If we also add to this the fact that citizens are aware of the cost of healthcare and participate in decisions, management of those costs improves considerably".

"It is precisely the savings in resources for the public health system and the reinvestment of any profits made by health co-operatives into technology and innovation, service quality, patient treatment ,and improvements in training and working conditions for healthcare professionals that enables the sustainability of this model and means that it has become a third sector source of support for the public health system", concludes Zarco.

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