Saturday, April 7, 2012

Health Care Reforms in Turkey – 5: “The Final Declaration of the Grand Right-to-Health Assembly of Turkey”

As part of our responsibility of providing English information on Turkey with a political perspective that is compatible with our stance, we started a series of translations of news items and articles on the transformations in the health care system in Turkey. You can reach the previous items by following the Health Care Reforms in Turkey label. We conclude our series by a translation of the declaration of the Grand Right-to-Health Assembly of Turkey. This news item is translated from the Turkish original published on March 12th in Istanbul Medical Chamber's website.

The Final Declaration of the Grand Right-to-Health Assembly of Turkey

The opening ceremony of the Grand Right-to-Health Assembly of Turkey (TBSHM) was held in Ankara on March 11th, 2012, with the attendance of 38 Provincial Right-to-Health Assemblies and many professional associations, labor unions, political parties and patients' rights associations.

TBSHM voted and rejected
1- the contribution fees for health services,
2- the rejection of patients in hospitals who cannot afford the social security premiums,
3- the so-called “extra fees” in private hospitals,
4- the “exceptional health care services” which is just a manifestation of the ground zero for conscience, ethics and humanity,
5- the commercialization of even the emergency rooms under the title “green space regulations”,
6- the transformation of the Ministry of Health from a service provider to a health corporation by the Legislative Decree No. 663 on the Structure and Missions of the Health Ministry,
7- the public hospital unions that transform public hospitals into corporate hospitals,
8- the enormous robbery under the public-private partnership program, where the risk is taken by the state and the profit is taken by the national/foreign monopolies/consortiums,
9- public health budget being given as a present to private hospitals,
10- the commodification of health care services, the renouncement of the health sector to wild market mechanisms, and the privatization in health care.

Open to further suggestions and contributions, TBSHM decided its basic stance on health care as follows:
1- Health care is a birthright.
2- Health care services should be equal, accessible, quality and free for all.
3- All the health expenses should be covered through taxes, without any other contribution fees or health premiums.
4- It is an indispensable and essential duty of the state to provide public health care services that focus on public interest as opposed to profit.
5- All levels of the health organization should be open for participation.
6- Preventive health services should be prioritized in order to protect and improve physical, psychological and social health.
7- All public financial resources that are reserved for the health services should be used for the public health system.
8- Subcontracting in the health services should be prohibited.
9- The health employees should be provided with covered positions, salaries and retirement pensions sufficient to maintain a humane life, and union rights including the right to strike and the right to collective bargaining.
10- All administrative and financial restrictions that damage the professional independence of the health employees should be abolished. Circulating capital based on performance in the public sector and endorsement pressures in the private sector, which are against the nature of the health system, should be done away with.

Our assembly states its determination for a united struggle against destructive health care policies such as the new health reform, legislative decree No. 663 and public hospital unions.

Within this framework, it decided on
- the expansion of the existing Provincial Right-to-Health Assemblies and the foundation of new ones countrywide,
- proactive utilization and production of written and visual materials for the purpose of informing the public,
- the monitoring and periodical publication of unjust treatments,
- the organization of local and centralized activities to advocate the rights to accessible and quality health care in Turkey where there will be no premiums, contribution fees or extra fees, including petitions, referendums, meetings, strikes and protests in the Health Week (the week of March,14th).

We invite all the workers, the people and the organizations to join “The United Struggle for Equal and Free Health Care for All”.

The Grand Right-to-Health Assembly of Turkey

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