It is a pity that the dire reality of Italian health care, with 85,000 professionals missing, requires many more interventions to heal what is a real abyss”.
ROME MARCH 28, 2022 – This can only leave us dissatisfied, to say the least, with the response that in recent days the Undersecretary of Health, the Honorable Andrea Costa, has sent to the question that the Member of Parliament for Forza Italia, Raffaele Novelli, had sent to the attention of Minister Speranza.
The thorny and very topical subject to which the question refers is that of the chronic deficiency in nursing care which, today, is in danger of becoming, more and more, a scourge very difficult to eradicate.
The 29,000 nurses hired so far to which Undersecretary Costa refers, emphasizing in this sense the government’s “commitment” to remedying the fragility of our medical mix, deserve our reflection and push us to our own conclusion of which , of course, we will try to report.
“Not much, so Antonio De Palma, national president of Nursing Up, comments on the figures highlighted by the Ministry of Health, which do not even cover half of the nursing gap that afflicts our health system.
To Minister Speranza and Hon. Costa, we would like to remind you that this health system, which from the point of view of personnel is sinking from all sides, needs a courageous recruitment plan, from North to South, to recover, compared to which the 29,000 nurses whose we’re talking about, it’s really a small amount”.
Let’s try together to understand what are the key points, which for us must be properly assessed.
1. There is a structural shortage of 63,000 nurses, which reached 85,000 with the health emergency, reaching a peak of 100,000 at the worst times, with the collapse of hospitals. By itself, this data would already be enough to understand that with 29,000 hires, we have solved very little.
2. The retirements of nurses from the national health service were 37,744 over the period 2014-2018 compared to 37,731 hired: if we think that at the time we were struggling with a shortage of 53 000 nurses, we find that after all, even then, Little was done to plug the leak.
The PNRR, with a report from last year, estimated that another 26,018 would retire between 2021 and 2026, but beware of all this without counting the exodus for 100, whose criterion in force until 2021, increases the shortage of nurses by 13 thousand additional units.
3. The stabilization plan could have been an important solution but, as far as nurses are concerned, it certainly did not make us take great steps forward, since we limit the number of hires only to this insufficient group of 23 000 units that worked for at least 6 months during the emergency period. A structural shortage of 85,000 units is not solved in this way.
And then, what fate will have, we have always wondered, this plethora of precarious workers who, “children of a lesser God” while boasting of 18 months of collaboration (discontinuous or continuous) with the Organizations and Companies of the NHS , were not called into service during the famous and limiting 6 months included in the emergency period?
4. The National Plan for Recovery and Resilience (PNRR) in mission 6 Health provides for a series of investments both in territorial health and in hospitals which, once implemented, will require the availability of an additional and significant number of nurses. New community homes, community hospitals, home care upgrades, territorial operations centers and the completion of the new hospital intensive care network will require the availability of 30,485 more nurses than the current budget. Therefore, while taking due account of the figures provided by Hon. Costa, it’s clear that you can’t just think of plug the loopholes that seem the most serious, but it is necessary to hire more professionals, if we really want to make sense of the enormous resources available.
5. Finally, don’t forget the more than 2,000 voluntary resignations of nurses that took place, which we are sure, between the first and second quarters of 2021 alone.
“In conclusion, continues De Palma, only a new contract worthy of the name, which leaves room for the deserved economic development of NHS health professionals, and which is accompanied by a recruitment plan which goes well beyond the figures highlighted so far will allow our health care system to move forward, without ifs or buts.
Moreover, the current contract is certainly not blocked on the issue because of the responsibility of the unions, given that the table is still awaiting the directives for the allocation of these “additional resources already provided for by the finance law” , which refer to the 0.55% (for the new system) and 0.22% (for the accessory treatment), without which the works certainly cannot be closed.
We therefore hope that Undersecretary Costa will support the requests that Nursing Up has already given to the president of the sector committee at the last meeting on March 24, for the additional resources necessary for the closing of a decent national contract, and for a concrete economic valuation of health professionals, in the name of which all parties, including political ones, must find a real unity of purpose”.