Ciência & Saúde Coletiva
Print version ISSN 1413-8123
MARTIN, José Jesús Martín and GONZALEZ, Maria del Puerto López del Amo. The sustainability of the Spanish National Health System. Ciênc. saúde coletiva [online]. 2011, vol.16, n.6, pp. 2773-2782. ISSN 1413-8123. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1413-81232011000600016.
The Spanish National Health System (SNHS) has sustainability problems resulting from weaknesses in institutional design and governance compounded by the economic crisis it faces. The global economic crisis has had a particularly virulent impact in Spain, characterized by high levels of unemployment and public and private debt. Fiscal adjustment policies implemented may significantly compromise the SNHS. Along with general funding problems, the strong territorial decentralization of health jurisdictions in the Autonomous Communities has not been backed up by efficient State-level health coordination. The SNHS suffers from problems in its rules of governance, its autonomous financing system, human resource policies and diversity of direct and indirect management models in different Autonomous Communities. A reform strategy in Spanish healthcare governancemust be articulated within the context of a broader review of public policies to stabilize the lines of defense of the welfare state. Within the scope of the health sector, the financing system must be improved and institutional changes to increase efficiency must be implemented.
Keywords : Sustainability; Spain; Healthcare system; Economic crisis; Decentralization.