An Inconvenient Truth

To all followers of my blog and to those of you who know me in person, I know that I can sometimes appear to be rather insistent; I’m aware of this, but I’ll still never tire of saying that we have a great public healthcare system, one which incorporates strong values and helps to maintain our modern welfare state. However, we mustn’t stand idly and ignore the problems that lie ahead, even though we may not necessarily want to confront them; in this sense I am reminded of the documentary made by former US vice-president, Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth.

If our National Healthcare System is to cope with the coming social, technological and economic challenges that we will have to face in the medium and longer term, and if it is to adapt effectively to changing times, our system requires urgent reform. I believe that, even if we only take the population issue into consideration, in order to protect our social values the administration of the National Healthcare System will inevitably require a comprehensive overhaul. These problems are not exclusive to Spain; all our neighbouring countries are facing the same challenges.

I am convinced that, although the issues that I regularly address on this blog can occasionally appear to be repetitive, boring or isolated, sooner or later the views expressed here will combine with the views and opinions of many others who are in agreement with this diagnosis of the problems which lie ahead; I also believe that a large percentage of people will agree with the treatment required to address these issues. In fact, on 23 January 2015, El Pais published an open article entitled “Saving Public Health”, which was signed by a number of significant public figures from the worlds of philosophy and academia, and from social and administrative organisations. The authors of the article included dignitaries such as Victoria Camps, Adela Cortina, Santos Juliá, Nicolás Redondo, Fernando Savater and Enrique Costas Lombardía (vice-president of the April Report). It’s a great article and should be read and disseminated by all; although one has to ask oneself – why has this article generated so little reaction?

I believe that it is extremely important that these notable signatories and those at the highest levels of the worlds of academia, science, intellect, politics and ethics aren’t afraid to stand up and expound what many are thinking but few are daring to say. To step up to the plate and take the lead in stating the need for a reform of the National Healthcare System is admirable; and of course it goes without saying that, with great humility and respect, I add my voice to theirs.

There’s a phrase in that article which particularly struck me; “Reform of our National Healthcare System is an urgent moral imperative”. It’s an extraordinarily profound phrase, which touches on the crux of the central problem facing the Spanish Healthcare Service; either we reform the system properly or we will be attacking the true social values of fairness, free-provision of services, solidarity etc., or we protect the old system and may end up sabotaging the greatest treasure of our modern society.

It is not a question of ideology but of social ethics.

We need to present new ideas and discuss possible solutions in an open forum, we must be brave and defend our values, criticise what’s not working, change the stagnant and update the old!

In short, we need to confront the issue of the reform of our National Healthcare System in an honest and serious way; coming generations will thank us for it.

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