A New Health Pact
Presentation of the final report
A new health pact is the proposal of the report ‘The Future for Health– everyone has a role to play’. This broad ranging study on health in Portugal was presented on 23rd September, in the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation’s Auditorium.
The implementation of a healthcare education and literacy programme that enables citizens whenever falling sick to participate in decision making, the implementation of an electronic health records system that opens up all the information on their health to citizens while also providing a single source of vetted and credible information accessible to all of society alongside the nomination of non-professionals to represent citizens on the boards of healthcare institutions represent some of the recommendations made by this study, especially in the chapter dedicated to Citizen Participation, one of the key themes of the study.
“This is the right time to improve health and not just health services. And this is the time for everybody to play a role. This cannot simply be left in the hands of the practitioners and governments,” said Nigel Crisp, leader of the commission that drafted this report that counted upon the contribution of a vast range of both public and private institutions and dignitaries and specialists.
“Portugal took a courageous and ambitious decision when founding its National Health Service (NHS) with the commitment to serve the entire country equally,” stated the former CEO of the British National Health Service and member of the House of Lords. “Our study appeals for an equally courageous new initiative: a Health Pact that involves everybody.”
Calling upon citizens, healthcare professionals, teachers, business leaders and local and central government, the study proposes that the current hospital and disease focused system undergo a transition to a system centred on people and based on health in which citizens stand up as partners in the promotion of health and healthcare services.
Lord Nigel Crisp – A New Health Pact
Over the course of seven chapters – Vision for the future: a major programme of change; Action by citizens; Action across society; The continuous pursuit of improved quality; A person-centred and team-based health system; New roles and strengthened leadership at all levels; Financial sustainability – the study advances based upon the strengths of the current system, the competence of its professionals and the achievements of the past whilst nevertheless demanding new approaches, different infrastructures and a lower and thus more sustainable cost basis.
“Portugal has a good NHS, competent healthcare professionals and a tradition in service provision. However, the country now faces an enormous increase in chronic diseases such as diabetes and the elderly who report some of the worst health levels in Europe. These are the main problems faced and that have most contributed to the financial difficulties,” Nigel Crisp emphasised.
The report also contains a block dedicated to the Gulbenkian Challenges that set out three “ambitious” initiatives that the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, sponsor of this study, intends to support, specifically: reducing hospital acquired infections; Slowing growth of diabetes; and helping the country become a leader in early childhood health and development.
The Report “A Future for Health – everyone has a role to play” arises out of the initiative Health in Portugal: A Challenge for the Future. The Gulbenkian Platform for a Sustainable Health System, launched in February 2013 by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. In addition to Lord Nigel Crisp (chairman), sitting on the Commission that drafted the Report were Donald Berwick (USA), Wouter Bos (the Netherlands), Ilona Kickbusch (Switzerland), João Lobo Antunes, Pedro Pita Barros and Jorge Soares (Portugal).