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Ombudsman for the disabled, with a basic psychologist we improve assistance – Italian hospitals

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Ombudsman for the disabled, with a basic psychologist we improve assistance – Italian hospitals

“Campania will be the first Region in Italy to have a basic psychologist.

Citizens who need it will be able to receive, free of charge, a first level of assistance. It will be the general practitioner (or the pediatrician of free choice for the little ones) who will be able to direct citizens to the health district of the ASL, where the general practitioners will be operational, in cases where it should highlight the need for first aid of a psychological type.

Each health district will therefore have two basic psychologists for a total of 146 professionals who will take up service throughout the region”. This was stated by Paolo Colombo, guarantor for the disabled in Campania.

“An opportunity, that of the basic psychologist, which makes Campania the forerunner region for a service that half of Italy is now looking at with interest.

Yet achieving this result, despite the tenacity of the Order of Psychologists of Campania and the political will of the Region, has not been easy at all. The journey, in fact, began more than three years ago. The first result took place on August 3, 2020, when the regional council approved the law that established the figure of the basic psychologist. The path was blocked, however, by an appeal to the Constitutional Court brought directly by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. In December 2021, then, the Constitutional Court found the questions of legitimacy raised by Palazzo Chigi to be unfounded, making the regional law fully operational. This brings us – adds Colombo – to last summer, July 2022, when, after the approval of the regional council, the implementing regulation governing the service was published on the BURC”.

Colombo adds: “On December 5 of the same year, the regional observatory took office, established by decree of the President of the Giunta, with the task of working for the activation of qualifying courses and monitoring public notices from the Local Health Authorities. Later following the publication of public notices and expressions of interest by all the local health authorities in Campania, the suitable professionals were identified and the ranking from which to draw was drawn up.

Thus we have reached the finish line and already this summer the citizens of Campania will have the opportunity to have a free psychological consultation if deemed necessary by the general practitioner. A first result of great importance, so much so that many regions of Italy are studying the Campania model to replicate it. But the goal is to get, in a second phase of the project, to assign a general practitioner to each citizen, just like the general practitioner. Meanwhile, work is underway to obtain European funding which could increase the budget available to the project by several million. This milestone is the result of a long and complex work, which began in the midst of the pandemic”.

“Up to now – says Colombo – Campania has in fact legislated in place of the State and has led the way, but other Regions are already following our path and, also by virtue of the appeal won in the Constitutional Court, the Government and Parliament will not be able postponing such an important issue. This is the goal we must strive for, to guarantee fundamental support to citizens, in particular to the most sensitive groups, children, adolescents, the elderly and people with disabilities”. Thanks to the basic psychologist, the health service – it is highlighted – will be even more sustainable. In fact, expenses will be reduced, avoiding a series of improper hospitalizations, attributable to anxiety and mood disorders, improper prescriptions of psychotropic drugs and absenteeism in companies due to phenomena linked to work-related stress or bullying.

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