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Desire for health, for 9 out of 10 Italians public health is a priority

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Desire for health, for 9 out of 10 Italians public health is a priority

While the first provisional data from the Ministry of Health shows that as many as 12 regions and autonomous provinces are unable to guarantee essential care as established by the Lea, the results of an opinion poll carried out by Ipsos arrive according to which 61% of citizens put investments in health first, ahead of jobs and energy costs. Not only that: almost 9 out of 10 Italians believe that public health represents a strategic priority for the country and that an increase in its financing is necessary. However, the share of Italians who believe telemedicine, digital transformation and Artificial Intelligence in the healthcare field is decreasing (from 79% to 68%). The survey was presented in Rome during the sixth edition of ‘Inventing for Life Health Summit’ organized by MSD Italia and dedicated to the theme ‘Investing for Life: health matters!’.

Italians’ priorities and expectations for a new NHS

According to Ipsos research data, within two years the share of Italians who indicate health and healthcare as the absolute priorities in which to invest has increased from 52% to 69%, ahead of work and energy costs. In particular, priority should be given to Emergency Rooms, Hospital Care and Prevention. “The rationalizations affecting public health, amplified by news reports on the pressure to which health workers are subjected, reinforce the urgency of expected action on hospital services and care, especially first aid,” he observed Nando Pagnoncellipresident of Ipsos.

Health matters

And the Minister of Health also expressed himself on these issues, Oreste Schillaci, who spoke at the opening of the ‘Inventing for Life Health Summit’ event: “Health matters. It certainly matters for Italians who consider healthcare a priority and also for this Government which has begun to reverse course. We have increased resources for healthcare: we are talking about over 11 billion for the three-year period 2024-2026 with the latest budget law. And we have begun a process of broad and radical transformation of the healthcare offering with the aim of providing adequate responses to the health needs of citizens”. The Minister also touched on the issues that emerged as priorities for Italians from the Ipsos survey: “As regards waiting lists – said the Minister – we have made funds and tools available to the Regions to accelerate interventions aimed at reducing times that they are often too long and unacceptable. We have activated a working group to update the national waiting list governance plan which will also be responsible for defining more precise monitoring of waiting times because it is necessary to have real data to understand which services present the most critical issues and the Regions where there are the most critical issues for a given performance”.

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Less enthusiasm for digitalisation

Even if curiosity is strong when it comes to Artificial Intelligence and health, the unknowns related to security are somewhat cooling enthusiasm for digital transformation, which is still considered useful by 68% of Italians (compared to 79% in 2021) . “The rapidity of the evolution of digital tools, such as generative Artificial Intelligence, is creating conflicting feelings in public opinion, with anxieties and expectations: the fear of losing essential human contact is compensated by the expectation of efficiency in processes and progress in the precision and speed of diagnoses”, continues Pagnoncelli.

Healthcare funding

Almost 9 out of 10 Italians believe that public health represents a strategic priority for the country and that an increase in its financing is necessary. Data for which institutional representatives were also asked to comment during the event. “We recognize the need to make changes to the current organizational models in some sectors, such as, for example, the pharmaceutical sector for which, with the 2024 Budget Law, we have made the spending governance model more efficient. We are aware of the need to adopt more effective policies to make the NHS more sustainable, for the benefit of our citizens”, declared the Hon. Marcello GemmatoUndersecretary of State for Health.

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He also attended the event Elena Bonetti, XII Social Affairs Commission, Chamber of Deputies, which declared. “A plan for profound renewal of the healthcare system is needed, which sees a significant investment in the training and recruitment of new staff, but also in a different organization of the system that allows waiting lists to be completely eliminated. The entire country system is called to contribute, in particular the business world as places of training in a culture of health prevention but also to build, together with the institutions and the health system, paths for promoting health and protecting it also in the world of work.”

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Also Simona Loizzo, XII Social Affairs Commission, Chamber of Deputies, expressed its opinion in this regard by declaring: “We must overcome the current critical issues and make the accessibility and sustainability more equitable, also from an economic point of view, of the new therapies available, such as drugs and vaccines innovative,” he said. These scientific discoveries – and I am thinking for example of the oncological ones – represent a real life expectancy for many patients. Events like this represent a great opportunity for discussion and collaboration so that all innovation can be made available to citizens.”

“The results of the survey are impressive and confirm many of our concerns,” said Sen. Antonio Missionary, Vice President of the 5th Budget Commission, Senate of the Republic. Healthcare is by far the issue most felt by public opinion and there is growing awareness of the underfunding of the system compared to the rest of Europe and of the need to increase the allocation of resources allocated to the NHS, reducing waiting lists and strengthening territorial and hospital assistance”.

The role of the pharmaceutical sector

Almost 7 out of 10 Italians believe that the pharmaceutical sector can represent a stimulus for the recovery of the Italian economy and 73% of the population believes that the State should invest more in public pharmaceutical assistance. But it is necessary to evaluate health spending and pharmaceutical spending in particular from a new perspective, financing and making the best use of resources such as the Fund for innovative medicines and considering at least part of this spending – for example, that for vaccines – as an investment and not only cost, in light of the return it can give for the health of the community. “As an active and valuable part of the health ecosystem, we want to be the bearers of responsible proposals, working together for a future of health in which no one is left behind,” he declared Nicoletta Luppi, president and CEO of MSD Italia. In particular, we ask that health be kept at the top of the political and institutional agenda both at European level (guiding the Pharmaceutical Review in the name of progress) and national level (progressively increasing the resources allocated to the NHS). We also hope for the adoption of an Italian strategy for Life Sciences, capable of positioning research and the industrial supply chain on the most advanced international standards, making the country even more attractive to foreign investments”.

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How to attract investments

Among the topics addressed during the ‘Inventing for Life Health Summit’ event was also that of the attractiveness of our country. “If we consider that on a global level every year the sector invests more than 200 billion dollars and Italy intercepts less than 1% of it, it is clear that we must set ourselves the objective of attracting the greatest possible amount of investments, he stated Valerio De Molli, Managing Partner and CEO of The European House-Ambrosetti. “To increase our attractiveness, and be more competitive in global competition, it is necessary to act with an integrated portfolio of interventions and policies, capable of facing the challenges of the country system as a whole starting from the strengthening of the NHS, from a new strategy for the pharmaceutical sector and the development of a real national Life Sciences Plan”.

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