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Esade: Digital health and public-private partnerships are challenges for the Spanish healthcare system

Trinidad Jiménez (Telefonica): “Citizens’ distrust of the healthcare system is due to a problem of expectations”

 “We are in a moment of disruptive change in human beings’ relationship with the healthcare system,” said Francisco Longo, Associate Director General of ESADE, at the presentation of the latest ESADE–“la Caixa” Social Confidence Index at CaixaForum Madrid.

“This is happening in the context of perceptions that are difficult to verify, from diffuse discomfort to society’s habituation to expansive demand, as well as a demand not only for services that heal but services for carers,” Longo said.

The index provides a six monthly indicator of citizens’ confidence in their ability to access the services that provide them with security in their daily lives and guarantee comfort, autonomy and well-being.

According to the latest index, healthcare is one of nine indicators – along with pensions – in which trust has fallen, with a decrease of 0.7 points from 84.9 in the previous edition, published in September 2016.

However, at 86 points, the forecast for this area suggests the possibility of a slight recovery.

Effect of the crisis on the Spanish healthcare system

Despite the relative recovery of the healthcare budget as Spain recovered from the financial crisis, the Social Confidence Index indicates confidence in the healthcare system remains stagnant and that for certain groups, confidence in healthcare has decreased.

“Young people play a decisive role in the final score and have a very negative view of the healthcare system. This is surprising because members of this group are less likely to need healthcare,” said Guillem López Casasnovas, professor of economics at Pompeu Fabra University and former board member at the Bank of Spain, who analysed the current situation and future prospects of the Spanish healthcare system for the new edition of the Social Confidence Index.

“Pensioners rated healthcare more highly and their trust in the system has even increased incrementally,” López said. “The economic crisis has reduced the growth rate of public health spending. However, the restriction caused by the spending cuts has been smaller than alleged. In some cases, nominal increases have even been seen.” 

Trinidad Jiménez, Director of Global Public Affairs Strategy at Telefonica and former Spanish Minister of Health, Social Policy and Equality said, “This edition of the Social Confidence Index clearly shows that there is social discontent with regard to the public healthcare system, regardless of the fact that there may be more or less investment or public infrastructure, among other factors.”

Jiménez said, “Distrust in the system is due to a problem of expectations. As reflected in the Index, this is an expression of protest.”

Future prospects: challenges and responses

The increasing demand for health services and the growing supply are the main concerns identified by the analysts. Demographic change, patients’ tendency to overuse health services, and medicalisation have all led to an increase in demand.

 

 

 

 

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