“Italian healthcare is seriously suffering. Despite the huge effort the health system made during the pandemic, health, hospitals and wellness aren’t political TV programs nor on talk shows topics anymore.” Francesco Cognetti – UniCamillus professor and distinguished oncologist and coordinator of the Forum of Scientific Societies of Italian Hospital and University Clinicians (FoSSC) – condemned this situation, which was reported by Il Messaggero.
Cognetti states: “130,000 hospital specialist physicians are available in Italy, 60,000 fewer than Germany and 43,000 fewer than France. The lack of white coats also affects general practitioners: the number of GPs is low, only about 40,700. Every year 3,000 of them retire, and the exodus will be greater soon. Moreover, in Italy, nowadays the number of pediatricians is 13,000. But throughout our country, shortages are also due to the rigid distinction between local and hospital activities and the lack of adequate interaction and integration between them. Bed availability per number of inhabitants ranks Italy 22nd in Europe. In addition, the ability to use them is totally insufficient” – Cognetti denounces – “Hospitals are now unified, wards and diagnostic services were reduced and weakened. Within 10 years, the lack of funding for the Health sector reached 37 billion euros. Other European countries have 3-4 point higher percentages in relation to the GDP. In 2022, the expense for the health sector has been increasing by 3% compared to 2021. These resources have been employed to face the pandemic, whose mortality rate in Italy was one the highest in Europe.
2023-2025 DEF (Documento di economia e finanza – Economy and Finance Report) from April 2022 includes an annual 0.6% decrease forecast, in the light of an expected, significant decrease in nominal GDP.
In election programs, references to reorganising territorial Healthcare, increasing the health professional workforce in this sector, and overcoming waiting lists are included. However, concrete proposals and organised reform projects corresponding to a ‘system’ logic are lacking. The number of ordinary hospitalisation beds needs to increase beyond the current rate of 350 per 100,000 individuals to at least the European average of 500. Also the number of intensive care beds needs to increase beyond 14 to at least 20-25 per 100,000 inhabitants.”