Last week, Alicante hosted the 19th National Hospital Congress. Sadly, for work reasons, I was unable to attend this massive gathering of over 2.000 health professionals from the whole of Spain. There were friends there who I would have liked to meet. Taking part in this year’s edition was important to me for several reasons. Firstly was because Mariano Guerrero, Ribera Salud’s Planning and Project’s Director, was the president of the congress. Secondly, I did not want to miss any of the talks by the different members of my work team (Ribera Salud has actively participated in this edition), and thirdly because the program included awarding an honour to some of the sector’s most recognized figures, such as Miguel Carrero, Francisco Ivorra and José Antonio Ávila, who I would have liked to have met. You can’t imagine how gladly I would have gone to Alicante to also receive that honour, and ever more so since I have just celebrated my 25th year working in the health sector. I imagined, and those who were present have confirmed this, that Sedisa’s president, Joaquín Estévez, would have some kind words to say about me. So I couldn´t not be there, I could not be silent, and so I sent a few lines to my friend Mariano so he could speak on my behalf. Beneath are my words of thanks – I hope you like them.
Good evening, dignitaries, members of SEDISA, of the National Association of Nursing Executives, dear friends. You can’t imagine how happy I am to receive your award. It really is a great joy. I very much regret that I cannot share this evening with you, and so I asked the President of the Congress and my friend, Mariano Guerrero, to speak to you in my name, as I wanted to be with you despite the thousands of miles that separate us.
Receiving a tribute just when I am celebrating my silver jubilee in the industry is a great opportunity. Yes, you heard it right – an opportunity. 25 years ago, when I decided to devote myself to healthcare, I did so with the aim of contributing to the renewal of a sector which, back then, was crying out for change, and which today still needs reform. Our system urgently needs to be reformed to adapt to the changing times, to cope with the significant challenges that we now face, and which we will have to deal with decisively. From my point of view, simply taking demographics into account, it is essential that we update the management of the National Health System if we want to preserve its values.
Since I started in the field of health management much has changed, but tonight I do not want to talk about the past but rather the future. Because patients are changing, because technology is constantly being updated, because scientific advances are increasingly important, managers are required to optimize the management of resources. Not long ago, I read a sentence in an opinion piece that impressed me, signed by leading figures from the academic, scientific, intellectual, political and ethical world, which said, «Renewing the National Health System is a pressing, moral imperative».
This is a phrase with an extraordinarily deep message which hits the nail on the head, regarding the big problem that the Spanish public health system is facing, because if we don’t fully renew the system, we will be attacking the true values of fairness, generosity and solidarity. If we don’t renew the system, by defending the status quo, we will simply ruin the greatest treasure of our modern society.
My dream, if I may make a nod to the famous speech by Martin Luther King, is for all of us gathered here tonight to put our ideas together. My dream is for all of us who are here tonight to discuss solutions. My dream is to be brave. My dream is for all of us here to have the courage to defend the values of public health. My dream is, ultimately, to change everything that is stagnant. My dream is to update everything that is old. My dream would be that the next time we meet up in a forum like this, we would not have to make reference to the April Report, nor to all these improvement needs, and that it was a young talent that was here on stage speaking of new challenges and not me, who almost always ends up defending a shared management model which some sectors are determined to present as opposed to that of the Administration when, as a matter of fact, we are their best ally.
Let us please seriously take up the challenge of renewing the National Health System. Future generations will thank us. I will keep working on it. For another 25 years. Thank you very much.