19 GEN – “Compared to the average of European countries, and referring to the population as a whole, Italy has a potential surplus of 0.48 doctors and a gap of – 3.93 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants”, especially with respect to the needs for the groups older (and growing) population.
This is what emerges from 17th Report Create Health In the chapter dedicated to personnel (chapter 3B)which clearly portrays the phenomenon of nursing shortages and, indeed, referring to the European averages, also raises the bar on how many staff units are lacking in our country to align with the May EU partners or at least the EU average. A scenario commented on by National Federation of Orders of Nursing Professions which for years has been denouncing the criticality of the shortage of nurses.
But what emerged from the Report? The Report explains that “the real question remains that of the adequacy of the workforce. Consider that at an international level, in terms of the number of doctors who actively practice the profession, our country, according to OECD data, is at the top of the European rankings: in 2018 4.06 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants against 3 operate in Italy, 17 in France and 2.84 in the United Kingdom. Spain has a similar value to Italy (4.0), while in Germany there are 4.3 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants. The case of active nurses is different, for which in our country there is a rate much lower than the European average. In 2018, 5.5 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants worked in Italy compared to 7.8 in the United Kingdom, 10.8 in France and 13.2 in Germany. Only Spain is at a rate similar to ours, equal to 5.8 per 1,000 inhabitants ”.
The Report goes on to underline that by comparing the Italian situation to European averages “the surplus of doctors translates into a surplus of almost 29,000 units while the gap of nurses in a shortage of over 237,000 units of staff”. Otherwise, according to the calculations on the national structures, the shortage is still between 60 and 100 thousand professionals.
Repeating the analyzes with reference only to the over 75 age group, which is constantly growing due to the low birth rate and the lengthening of life expectancy, “the number of doctors per 1,000 over 75 inhabitants is lower than that of the average of European countries considered and, even more so, that of nurses: at present, more than 17,000 doctors and 350,000 nurses are missing ”.
Basically, according to the CREA, in both simulations there is an important deficit of nurses ranging from a minimum of 237,282 units to a maximum of 350,074, depending on the population groups in question. And affirming that “the need to intervene decisively on the entrances of the nurses, which is by far underpowered, seems to be a priority”, he states that “wanting to try to fill the gap, the State will not only have to budget for a greater expenditure on staff costs but will have to also make sure that the production capacity of the universities is in line with this objective “.
“In any case – underlines the Report – if we want to look beyond the increase in the number of places required in the short term, it is necessary, in the medium term, to identify new solutions that redesign the figure and role of the nurse also in view of the ” application of Mission 6 of the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR): without a solution to the staff shortage, the assistance and application of the PNRR, which places territorial assistance at the center of the future health system, will be heavily penalized “
“Nurses – comments CREA – play a critical role in providing assistance in hospitals and long-term care institutions in normal circumstances; their role was even more critical during the COVID pandemic. The demand for nurses is expected to continue to increase over the years due to an aging population, as many nurses approach retirement age ”.
It also states that “the number of personnel resources, especially as regards nurses, is insufficient to guarantee health care at the level of that guaranteed by the European nations taken as a reference. Therefore, the urgency of careful planning of the system from the point of view of personnel entries is confirmed, in light of forecasts on future exits and on the role that technology may play in the imminent future “.
Fnopi’s comment. “As a Federation we have been denouncing the shortage of nurses due to the pandemic for years now – he comments Barbara Mangiacavalli, president of the National Federation of Orders of Nursing Professions – is turning into a real alarm. Our estimates speak of at least 63 thousand personnel who are missing, but those of institutions (such as Agenas, the National Agency for Health Services) and university research centers (such as Bocconi and CREA Sanità, in fact), also in light of the forecasts of the PNRR, they range from 80 thousand to over 2-300 thousand nurses less than current and future needs. Like Fnopi – concludes Mangiacavalli – we have some valid solutions and are open to a real confrontation with the institutions. Our professionals are asking to overcome the shortage, but also citizens, especially those with health needs not only linked to Covid and who know that they have nurses next to them in their everyday life “.
January 19, 2022
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