Sustainable healthcare for all citizens

All Dutch citizens have access to healthcare. High quality access at that. Some studies even claim that it is the best healthcare worldwide. Even so good, sustainable healthcare is not a matter of course, not even in our Western world. Why is that? Because care comes at a price. Healthcare in the United States is the most expensive in the world, with us finishing second. We spend twelve percent of all the money earned in our country on healthcare. Plus costs are continuously increasing: five percent every year, which amounts to seven billion Euros for just this cabinet period.

In short, sustainable care deserves our full attention. We simply cannot afford to do nothing, all the more so because the current generation of baby boomers is retiring and we have been suffering from a financial crisis for more than four years. Choices will have to be made. Choices that will go further than just decreasing the standard package and raising patients’ own contributions. Both within healthcare and outside healthcare, more attention should be paid to its sustainability. The first thing to catch the eye in this respect is the enormous lack of knowledge in the field of sustainable care. There is no answer to the question of how to make care better sustainable, without losing quality of care. People on lower incomes are especially vulnerable when it comes to higher premiums, extra patient contributions and a more limited package, only containing indispensable care. Celsus, academy for sustainable care provides knowledge for and on sustainable care. Because that is the objective: sustainable care for every citizen. Of central importance in this approach is the triangle policy, practice and science. We focus on interdisciplinary issues as well as on how to implement these issues from science into practice and policy. What are the effects? What does work, what does not work and why not? Celsus does not operate from an ivory tower. Knowledge has to be able to flow in order to yield a profit. For that reason, we will also be organising courses and training sessions, so as to actively spread the acquired knowledge and to open up the existing knowledge on sustainable care. Celsus aims at being a platform for a wide public debate on sustainable care. If it is up to Celsus, the Netherlands will still be proud of its healthcare in twenty years time, because our healthcare is of excellent quality, widely accessible and at the same time sustainable! And it is possible, even though at times it feels like driving through a tunnel in an armoured car. Yet it is our ambition to create a clean front screen, through which all those people who are working in healthcare with a steering wheel in their hands can see where they are going and what that means for sustainability.

Dr. Patrick Jeurissen, team leader Celsus and head of Strategy at the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports

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