Flight of doctors, Covid, expensive bills and few funds: “Health care one step away from the crash”

Almost three years of a pandemic that swept hospitals like a tsunami, now also grappling with expensive bills that eat up a large part of the extra funds from the maneuver. Added to this is the chronic shortage of personnel with doctors and nurses fleeing the most stressful wards, starting with the emergency rooms where cases of aggression are multiplying. After being in the spotlight for Covid, Healthcare is once again the Cinderella of before, even in funding and so the Regions write to the Government to warn it: «Healthcare is close to collapse, an extraordinary and strategic intervention is needed»

The Regions to the Government: extraordinary intervention is needed

Insufficiency of available resources, high prices and increased energy consumption, uncovered Covid costs, chronic shortage of personnel with a worrying crisis of healthcare vocations in crucial sectors such as that of emergency rooms. These are the assumptions that are putting public health in a situation of serious risk of collapse with consequences that the regions fear could be “catastrophic”. It is a cry of alarm that launched by Raffaele Donini, health councilor of Emilia-Romagna and coordinator of the health commission of the Regions, in a letter to the health minister Orazio Schillaci and to the economy minister Giancarlo Giorgetti. “It is necessary and cannot be postponed to quickly plan an extraordinary and strategic intervention, not of a merely emergency nature, capable of proposing solutions, which can be readily implemented and suitable for immediately addressing the shortage of healthcare personnel and the financial crisis of which, for the past three years the Regional Health Systems pay ».

‘Disastrous consequences’ if no action is taken

For the coordinator of the health councilors Donini, this situation will lead to “catastrophic consequences”. “The economic and financial sustainability of the health budgets – he writes in the letter sent to the two ministers – is strongly compromised by the insufficient level of funding of the National Health Service, by the failure to finance a significant portion of the expenses incurred for the implementation of the contrast measures to the Covid-19 pandemic and for the implementation of the vaccination campaign”. The first months have passed since the establishment of the new government chaired by the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and the process of forming the maneuver has ended, the Regions recall. “We therefore trust and hope that the conditions exist to be able to structure a path of loyal collaboration and constant institutional confrontation and to address some essential issues for the protection and financial sustainability of our public and universal healthcare system”. Already during the session of the Health Commission on 10 January, all the Regions and Autonomous Provinces registered “extreme concern” for the dramatic situation in which the Regional Health Systems find themselves both for the significant criticalities of the Regions ordinary statute and for the specific needs of the Regions with special statute

Funds largely destined for expensive energy are being maneuvered

The cry of alarm also arises from the fact that the first budget law after the Covid tsunami leaves Healthcare almost dry-mouthed. The maneuver puts an extra 2.15 billion on the plate for Italian healthcare by 2023, but most of the resources (1.4 billion euros) will be used to cover bills and hospital energy costs while the rest of the funds will not even cover the increase in costs due to inflation. The only signal sent to health personnel exhausted by the pandemic is the extra money for the paychecks of doctors and nurses who work in the emergency rooms, but the health professionals will not see these increases before 2024. Among other things, the Regions are at also taken with the coverage of the extra costs for Covid which has presented a very high bill and which has yet to find a solution: approximately 3.8 billion are floating, covered only in part by the Government. In addition there is the Pnrr and its new structures (homes and community hospitals) to be launched in the area.

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Flight of doctors, Covid, expensive bills and few funds: “Health care one step away from the crash”

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