Dr José Carlos Guisado, President of the International Health Co-operatives Organisation, IHCO, passed away on 14 October in Quebec City, Canada, at the age of 61. The co-operative leader suffered a cardiac arrest on Wednesday, 12 October, while taking part at the International Summit of Co-operatives being held in the Canadian city. He was hospitalised in a very serious condition, and failed to recover.
Born in Seville, the IHCO President studied Medicine at Seville University, and specialised in intensive care at hospitals in Seville and London. In his professional career he became Director of the Santa Isabel Hospital in Seville and the Moncloa Hospital in Madrid. He was currently serving as the Assistant President of ASISA, a leading company in the provision of health services in Spain and one of the members of the Espriu Foundation, of which he was a Trustee and Chief Executive Officer.
A committed co-operator, Dr Guisado dedicated more than 34 years of his life to the co-operative movement. He was a member of the governing board of the health co-operative Lavinia. Following the founding of the IHCO, he became the leader of the European region in 1998 and was elected President of the international organisation in 2001, a position that he held up until his death. A faithful follower of the philosophy of Dr Josep Espriu, he worked tirelessly to uphold the interests and promote the principles of health co-operatives worldwide. In 2011 he was elected a member of the Global Board of the International Co-operative Alliance, as representative of the sectoral organisations. At the national level he belonged to the executive board of the Spanish Confederation of Social Economy Enterprises, CEPES.
An easy-going man of firm convictions, he was responsible for what he himself referred to as the “explosion of health co-operatives”, in reference to the interest that numerous health systems, both public and private, have shown in the co-operative health model over recent years.