• Researchers design new structures for organization that minimize the social impact of budget cuts

    January 10, 2014

    A team from the University of Oviedo has analyzed the real effectiveness of the legal changes and privatization schemes that have taken place in Healtcare, Education and Social Services

    Co-payment of medicines is one of the legal reforms that have had a deepest impact in the citizens. PHOTO: Luana Fischer/ CREATIVE COMMONS

    What organizational and administrative models may minimize the impact on the quality of the public services in times of cutbacks? What are the organizational charts and the bodies that may lead to a more efficient administration without taking its toll on society? These are some of the questions asked by a team of researchers from the University of Oviedo, led by the Tenured Professor of the Department of Public Law Leopoldo Tolivar, to analyze with the project Modelos jurídico-organizativos de optimización de las prestaciones esenciales del estado de bienestar, funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

    The depth of the economic crisis has led to important budget cuts in terms of Healthcare, Education and Social Well-being, and has started a large series of legal reforms that directly affect these public services. The experts offer an analysis of the real effectiveness of these changes in saving money for the public budget while devaluing as little as possible the services given to citizens.

    The teachers from the Department of Public Law have offered new models that devalue as little as possible the quality of the public services

    "The goal is to achieve a minimal bureaucratic scheme that will permit us to damage as little as possible, political decisions notwithstanding, the public services that guarantee the social well-being of the citizens", explains Leopoldo Tolivar. One of the challenges that must be overcomed by the project is the ever-changing reality faced by the researchers. "We work in a constantly-shifting field because the legal reforms and counter-reforms happen almost on a daily basis", adds the Tenured Professor.

    The reform of the Local Regime, the new law of education, the decrees for co-payment of medicines or the indefinite supression of the Law of Dependency are some of the deep legal modifications whose impact will be analyzed by the researchers in order to describe alternative forms that do not take their toll on Healtcare, Education and the Social Services.

    The debate of privatization schemes

    The privatization of public services is one of the high points of the public debate and the team of experts also faces a study of its viability and its consequences. In fact, this is not the first project in this line of research. Their research on Gestión privada de servicios públicos de salud: incidencia en la calidad prestacional y en los derechos de usuarios y pacientes frontally collided with the attempts at privatizing the construction industry and the management of several hospitals in Madrid. "At the time, we predicted and compiled in the book the possible legal consequences of these decisions, of which we are unfortunate witnesses today", claims Tolivar.

    The conclusions of this first study question the efficiency of the privatization of Healthcare in the legal and economic fields. Moreover, it focuses on matters that have a direct and individual effect on each patient, such as, for example, the gathering of private and sensitive information, like that of patient histories.

    Research Team

    • Leopoldo Tolivar Alas
    • Miriam Cueto Pérez
    • Eva María Menéndez Sebastián
    • Javier Junceda Moreno (International University of Catalonia)
    • Alejandra Boto Álvarez