International roundtable discussion on the contribution of cooperatives to healthcare

An ageing population and tighter state budgets are putting pressure on healthcare services – making the role of health cooperatives increasingly relevant.

This is one of the major conclusions of the roundtable held last 15 November organised by IHCO and European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises, Euricse, within the Global Conference of the International Cooperative Alliance.

The session aimed to analyse the first results of The Cooperative Health Report, a research developed by both organisations, and also to highlight the diversity of health cooperative models. Adrian Watts from Australia, Giuseppe Milanese from Italy, Jagdev Singh Deo from Malaysia and Carlos Zarco from Spain explained what are the key elements that better describe the cooperative contribution to their national health systems. They also discussed the role of health cooperatives in the next future, when demographic, social and economic transformations will deeply affect the healthcare needs of the population.

As the report’s most relevant findings, Euricse CEO Gianluca Salvatori pointed out that health cooperatives are widespread in all the studied countries, being extraordinarily able to adjust to national and local conditions. He also explained that, over the past 20-30 years, health cooperatives have grown in importance as a reaction to increased demand for healthcare and the growing difficulties faced by public systems to support expanding healthcare expenditure.