Multidisciplinary primary care teams in Spain provide person-centred care

Spain has prioritized the creation of multidisciplinary care since the adoption of the Primary Health Care Reform Act in 1985, inspired by the Alma-Ata Declaration.

Today, primary health care services are provided by community-based, multiprofile teams, each serving about 20 000 people.

Multidisciplinary care is a game-changing approach, considered an alternative to traditional institutionalized care. It makes the best use of the skills mix of the health workforce: multiprofile teams include family doctors, paediatricians, dentists, primary care nurses, nurse aides, social workers and health administrative staff. Health workers interact closely with patients and families, draw up patient-specific treatment plans and share responsibility for decisions on the patient’s health.

Since introducing these multiprofessional teams, Spain has seen a continuous improvement in the management of noncommunicable diseases, particularly diabetes mellitus and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The country now plans to link these multidisciplinary care teams with social services and emergencies, further improving the delivery of person-centred care.

Spain’s multiprofile care teams are among the many examples of good practice which will be shared to inspire policy-makers attending the high-level regional meeting, Health Systems Respond to NCDs, taking place on 16–18 April in Sitges, Spain.