In the ward or in the studio making visits up to 72 years old. Here is the proposal contained in an amendment to the maneuver with which the majority tries to stem the chronic shortage of doctors in Italy where at least 20,000 white coats are missing in the emergency room, hospital wards and family doctor offices. A shortage also aggravated by the pandemic that has overwhelmed hospitals. The doctors’ unions who will be in the streets against the maneuver on December 15 rise up and speak of a “patch worse than the hole” which risks limiting access and careers of young people and not blocking the phenomenon of cooperatives with “bought” doctors ” coin.
The chronic shortage after years of formative funnel
After a long period of training funnel, for some years the number of places both in degree courses in medicine – now around 14,000 – and in specialization grants, which amount to around 15,000, have increased: the problem, however, is that the newly trained doctors do not they will see before 5-6 years and therefore a solution must be found to plug the holes in the hospital and in the practices of family doctors for which there are talks of 20 thousand shortages. Hence the presentation of a couple of amendments of the same tenor signed by the majority which go in the same direction and that is to lengthen, “on a voluntary basis”, the retirement age which today is set at 68 for white coats with the possibility of extension to 70. The text of the amendment speaks in fact of the need to avoid “further shortages in staffing endowments” but also “to encourage the implementation in the medium term of policies to enhance university education with an increase in medicine and surgery graduates with the related specializations” up to “adequately support actions to combat the pandemic emergency”
The possibility on a voluntary basis valid until 2026
In particular, the amendment provides that «from 1 January 2023 and until 31 December 2026, the age limit for the placement of an office at rest is raised on a voluntary basis on the date of completion of the seventy-second year of age for medical personnel , employee or affiliated, of the National Health Service”. In practice, the possibility of remaining at work for both hospitals and family doctors is extended for those who want it. This possibility «is also extended to medical personnel employed in private structures affiliated with the National Health Service, and to university professors of medicine and surgery. To remain in work up to the age of 72, «the application for continuation of the employment relationship» must be «presented to the employer, within forty-five days from the date of entry into force of this law, by anyone who, on the same date , completed the sixty-ninth year of age and within ninety days from the date of completion of the sixty-ninth year of age if this is prior to 31 December 2025.
Criticize the unions: “A patch worse than the hole”
“It is a patch worse than the hole for the National Health Service, as well as an offense to the whole category and to those resources in which one should invest”. These are the words of Pierino Di Silverio, national secretary Anaao Assomed, the main acronym of hospital doctors. Such a proposal, he continues, “not only does not reduce the use of cooperatives for night and public holiday work, but produces a freeze on careers and hiring with substantial damage for women and young people”. «We are experiencing an unprecedented professional crisis, we already have the highest average age of employed doctors in Europe, with 56% who are over 55, we are emerging from dramatic years in which workloads and rhythms have increased to unbearable levels and the waiting lists have become endless. It is not acceptable – he adds – that the only response from the Government and Parliament is a patch”. For Pina Onotrigeneral secretary of the Italian Doctors Union (Smi) “we are making great strides towards the non-deliverability of essential levels of assistance and the ungovernability of the National Health Service, while work has begun to carry out the works envisaged by the Pnrr, community hospitals and health homes for which new doctors will be needed”.