A European comparison

In order to form an objective opinion you need reliable information. This axiom, which is applicable to life in general, is particularly important in the field of management. Without information, without rigorous analysis, without a comparative view, it’s extremely difficult to work out the stronger and weaker points of any discussion. Without clear, accurate documentation it is very difficult to form strategies for improvement, because ultimately, if you don’t form these strategies upon a sound, documented evidence base, it is very easy to become complacent.

The latest issue of the Euro Health Consumer Report 2014 reveals that half of all European countries are ahead of Spain in terms of healthcare. Our National Healthcare System is positioned in 19th place out of the 37 European countries included in the analysis. 48 indicators were examined covering 6 specific areas including accessibility of treatment, waiting times, range of services provided, outcomes obtained in terms of general health and implementation of preventative measures. Of all the figures presented, the one that struck me the most was the alarming increase in waiting times in Spain, one of the key issues upon which Spain’s Healthcare Consumers are also focused.

As I’ve mentioned before, in my opinion excessive waiting lists are an attack on the fairness of the health system and result in additional hidden costs. Excessive waiting times lead to one healthcare system for the rich – those with private healthcare insurance – and one for the poor, those who have to endure long waiting lists. Thus, I would argue that if equality is one of the core values of the public healthcare system, the reduction of waiting times, as we have succeeded in achieving using the Alzira Model where significant reductions have been made, is essential to real social progress.

We can carry on boasting that Spain has one of the best healthcare systems in the world, but international reports such as the one mentioned above indicate that this is not the case. We cannot ignore the evidence; we need to get to work, propose areas for improvements and set a course to achieve our goals.

Becoming complacent doesn’t help to uphold or improve our public healthcare system. By taking objective information, like the report mentioned above, into consideration we are taking the first steps to provide our citizens with the healthcare service they deserve, and the system that we should be providing. I can’t think of a better way to conclude my reflections on this subject than by quoting an extract from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll:

 “Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice.

The Cheshire Cat replied, “Well that depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

Alice: “I don’t care much where.”

Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t matter much which way you go.”

Alice: “As long as I get somewhere….”

Cheshire Cat: “Oh, if you walk for long enough, you’re sure to do that…. if you don’t know where you’re going, all roads will take you there.”

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