Genoa. We receive and publish the open letter from medical students who complain about the lack of resumption of post-covid internships, with serious consequences for the lack of training that the profession would require. This morning in Piazza De Ferrari the protest garrison.
Here is the text of the letter:
“We find ourselves forced to mobilize and take to the streets, because our every attempt at institutional confrontation has not been fruitful. The time for asking for kind attention is over. We demand to be trained as per the right and needs of every student of Medicine and Surgery. The start of the internships in the ward was scheduled for October 2020. This could not happen for reasons known to all and which we clearly understand, despite the fact that there are examples of universities where these activities have been carried out. The prospect for us was that of a return to the ward starting from May 2021, but despite this, the attempts to reopen were minimal and isolated in the sixth year.
The organization of the vaccination campaign prevented this from happening for the students of the other years as they were not considered a priority. Although our colleagues from other universities or attending other degree courses in the same University of Genoa in the health sector have been vaccinated and put in a position to be able to attend the wards. The vaccination, albeit with considerable delay, was aimed at restoring the frequency of hospital activity starting from October 2021. However, with inadequate notice and without official justifications, the leave was broken a few days before the start of the academic year.
With difficulty we managed to get to know some of the reasons causing yet another postponement. Among these are the lack of places in the ward for everyone and the impossibility of carrying out, in reasonable timescales, the health surveillance visits necessary for returning to hospital facilities. To overcome the problem of the few places in the ward, at the proposal of the students, the extension of the agreements with other hospitals in the region has been started for more than a year. This intent has not yet been achieved for various reasons, including a peripheral block by the ASLs and a failure to take charge of the students by some Department Managers of the other hospitals. Despite, once again, there are examples of other realities in which such solutions have materialized. As for the surveillance visits, on the other hand, the competence lies with the Department of Occupational Medicine which, however, is slowed down due to an understaffed situation that does not allow the fulfillment of tasks with an acceptable timing.
This is the umpteenth consequence of the cuts in public health, further aggravated by the inadequate Ligurian management. The new program provides that internships begin in the last days of December for the fifth year, while only from March 2022 for the fourth year (exactly two years after the start of the pandemic). Finally, the third year was not even considered in this perspective. In our opinion, this organization is unacceptable: we are forced to condense the training activities that are normally distributed over several years into a short period of time, causing an important qualitative damage to our professional training. All this in the face of taxes aimed at covering the services we have not used for two years. Payments, however, have never been suspended, but only postponed. Ours is a request for respect and consideration by the responsible institutions, in relation not only to the failure to provide internships, but also to the ways in which this was communicated. The notices regarding the shift of the beginning of the professionalizing activities and the modalities of the lessons (DAD or mixed) were always received close to the deadlines and without official communications.
Our representatives have often contacted the offices and figures that have been indicated to us as a reference, receiving inconclusive and contradictory answers. This situation also creates discomfort for the many non-resident students, who had to look for and pay for accommodation in view of a date that was then postponed overnight. On the contrary, notifications of payment of taxes are never late in arriving. The alarm is not only for us students, whose training has been seriously compromised, but also for all those who in the future will have to turn to the National Health Service: we are worried about the quality of the doctor that each of us will be. In our interest and in the interest of the community, we expect our situation to be taken into account and a consequent revision of the plan communicated to us so far.
The discomfort we are experiencing leads us to request, in respect of our preparation: official communications to students, clarity and transparency in the explanations of the choices made by the University, enhancement of the Ligurian Healthcare and the training of future doctors with allocation of new funds if necessary . Finally, we ask that internships be started as soon as possible, ensuring places for everyone. Therefore we appeal to the Magnificent Rector of the University of Genoa Professor Federico Delfino, to the President of the Region Giovanni Toti and to the Primaries of the Ligurian ASL so that the training of your future doctors is no longer neglected. Education must be a right and a virtue of our country and not a shame. The students of Medicine and Surgery of the University of Genoa ”.