Equity - a small word but in terms of healthcare it is an enormous concept. It is all about fairness. If there is no fairness in healthcare then patients lose out. Patients will suffer and sometimes patients will die - they die because they didn't receive the care they deserved.
This happens in countries where equitable healthcare does not exist. Countries where you need a decent insurance policy to get decent healthcare. If you don't have the insurance you get second rate care.
I have seen this at first hand in another country when a patient I was looking after was asked for their credit card before they received the life saving treatment they needed. No credit card = no treatment and you were sent down the road to a poorly equipped 'public' hospital and the care received was second if not third rate.
I have co-written the following on the BMJ website about equitable healthcare
and it details concerns over maintaining equity in our NHS under the Health Bill. It is a vital concept we must preserve but this Health Bill threatens equitable care and I do not want our NHS to turn into an insurance based healthcare system because those without the income or the right insurance policy will lose out - and that cannot be acceptable in any decent society.