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International conference set to examine global barriers to healthcare

16 May 2014 | tagged News release

An international conference to be held in Edinburgh is set to examine the barriers to healthcare and the role of law in finding solutions.

Senior lawyers and health professionals from around the globe are set to attend the International Bar Association (IBA) conference, Barriers to Healthcare: Does Law Have A Role To Play In Solving The Problems?, at Edinburgh Zoo on 19-20 May.

Patricia Barclay, Vice-Chair of the Healthcare & Life Sciences Law Committee, from Bonaccord Ecosse Limited in Edinburgh, is one of the chairs of the event.

She said: "We want to examine why when science has given us treatments for so many ailments, so many people remain untreated.

"It is simplistic to say it is all about financial resources; other barriers may operate to hinder healthcare delivery to millions of people including legal constructs of policy and statutes. However, the law also operates to facilitate access to healthcare, so we want to create an opportunity to properly examine what role the law plays in the delivery of healthcare to those who need it. One topic we will be exploring is whether healthcare should be considered a human right and if it were would that change governments' priorities?

"This is a truly international event which has attracted speakers and delegates from 17 countries across five continents, who will examine the role of law in the healthcare delivery chain, and at which point the law helps and when it hinders access to healthcare."

A lively debate is anticipated on the panel on how healthcare is funded with speakers from Western Europe, the USA, the new democracies of Eastern Europe and Africa. The conference will hear about very different systems and why some may be more suitable for certain societies on both financial and cultural grounds.

Patricia Barclay said: "Paying for healthcare is a contentious issue as many millions of people simply cannot afford to do so. This session will examine the variations in payment systems for healthcare delivery models around the world and ask if there are innovative and efficient payment models and systems that would allow for healthcare to be both affordable and accessible to those who need it."

Other sessions at the two-day conference will look at the role of law and its failings and successes in healthcare, and examine concrete examples of healthcare delivery in respect of HIV and AIDS; the role of regulation in healthcare and whether regulating healthcare providers promotes or hinders healthcare services; and if the law can keep up with the acceleration in healthcare innovation as new molecules, medicines, treatment regimes and technologies are developed.

Patricia Barclay said: "We intend to publish the discussions from the conference with a view to reaching a wider audience and hope to take some of these themes further through working groups and further discussions at future conferences - we very much hope this is only the beginning of the conversation."


Notes to editors

The Barriers to Healthcare: Does Law Have A Role To Play In Solving The Problems? conference is presented by the Healthcare & Life Sciences Law Committee, with the Family Law Committee, Public Law Committee and Space Law Committee. It is supported by the African Regional Forum and European Regional Forum, the New York City Bar Association and the Law Society of Scotland.

Conference Chairs

  • Beth D Jacob, Chair, Healthcare & Life Sciences Law Committee, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, New York, NY, USA
  • Patricia Barclay, Vice-Chair, Healthcare & Life Sciences Law Committee, Bonaccord Ecosse Limited, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
  • Stephan Rau, Communications Officer, Healthcare & Life Sciences Law Committee, McDermott Will & Emery, Munich, Germany
  • Neil Kirby, Co-Vice-Chair, Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, Werksmans Attorneys, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Gillian Rivers, Chair, Family Law Committee, Penningtons Manches LLP, London, UK

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Val McEwan on 0131 226 8884 / 07825 206468.


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