Obituary: José Carlos Guisado

José Carlos Guisado, president of the International Health Co-operative Organisation (IHCO), has died after being taken ill at the International Summit of Cooperatives. Jose Pérez, IHCO secretary, confirmed...

José Carlos Guisado, president of the International Health Co-operative Organisation (IHCO), has died after being taken ill at the International Summit of Cooperatives.

Jose Pérez, IHCO secretary, confirmed he passed away on Friday 14 October in Québec City, after suffering a cardiovascular arrest on Wednesday.

Dr José Carlos Guisado
Dr José Carlos Guisado

As a sectoral organisation of the International Co-operative Alliance, the IHCO aims to provide a forum for discussion, share information about and promote the development of health co-operatives. Dr Guisado, who dedicated more than 34 years to the health co-op movement, was appointed general secretary of the European branch of IHCO in 1998 and elected IHCO chair in 2001.

He was also a director of the Spanish Business Confederation of Social Economy (CEPES) and chief executive of Fundacion Espriu of Spain, which provides health services to over two million people and employs 32,500 health professionals. When the foundation was set up 25 years ago, the national health system did not exist in Spain.

A specialised medical doctor, Dr Guisado trained at the university hospital in Seville and at University College Hospital in London. He joined the board of the International Co-operative Alliance in 2013, after being nominated by the Sectoral Organisation Liaison Group.

Health co-operatives provide services to more than 81 million people worldwide, and Dr Guisado believed that the health co-op model is suitable for both developed and developing countries. He thought the best results can be achieved by having the co-operative sector and the public sector working together for the benefit of consumers, and was a strong believer in the power of co-ops.

“We are able to provide the services we do and make a difference because we are co-operative,” he said in an interview last year, adding that co-ops have established a different approach to health by empowering patients.

“We consider that each patient has its important role to play within the health system. People come to us because they feel that we treat them differently,” he said.

Spanish co-op media organisation Ecosolidario said the co-operative movement was in mourning after the loss of one of the “great co-operative leaders of the world”, and tributes have also been paid by representatives from the international co-operative movement.

  • Messages of condolence to his family and fellow colleagues may be sent to: [email protected]
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