Nursing Up, healthcare, nurses, doctors, medical density, European countries, shortage of health professionals, NHS, Primary Care, chronically ill, elderly, children, fragile subjects, seniority rate, chronic pathologies, frailties, nursing enhancement, Italian healthcare
In a recent study by the nurses’ union Nursing Up, it has been revealed that the Italian healthcare system is facing a shortage of nurses. The study, relaunched by the Cergas institute, also highlights that while the country has a high density of doctors compared to other European Union countries, the ratio of nurses per doctor is still too low.
Antonio De Palma, the national president of Nursing Up, has emphasized the importance of nurses in the Italian health system. He states that resolving the shortage of healthcare professionals should be the top priority for the country, particularly in the context of a necessary restart of the National Health Service (NHS) and the focus on Primary Care. De Palma highlights that nurses play a crucial role in providing care to the chronically ill, the elderly, children, and other vulnerable individuals.
According to the study, Italy has a high number of doctors in comparison to other countries in the EU. Approximately 244 thousand doctors work in the country, with the medical density being 4.1 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants. In contrast, the UK and France have 3 and 3.3 doctors per 1,000 inhabitants respectively. However, the study reveals that Italy lags behind other countries when it comes to the ratio of nurses per doctor. In the NHS, there are 1.42 nurses per doctor, while countries like Germany, the United Kingdom, and France have ratios of 2.7, 2.8, and 3.3 nurses per doctor respectively.
The community’s perception of a shortage of doctors in Italy has been questioned by experts from Cergas and Sda Bocconi. They argue that Italy has one of the highest rates of seniors in Europe, with the population over 65 being double the population under 15. As a result, chronic pathologies and frailties are more prevalent, requiring fewer doctors and more nurses and social-health workers. The study suggests that the community’s perception may be influenced by the under-recognition of nurses and their crucial role in managing these complex care needs.
Nursing Up emphasizes the need for healthcare systems to recognize and reward nurses. De Palma states that nursing enhancement is not only an economic and contractual aspiration but also a necessary step for the future of Italian healthcare. The union believes that Italian nurses, with their unique skills and autonomy, are well-equipped to manage the specific needs of an aging population, decongest hospitals, and work collaboratively with general practitioners to revitalize local healthcare.
This study by Nursing Up serves as a call to action for the Italian healthcare system to address the shortage of nurses and recognize their invaluable contribution to patient care. It highlights the importance of investing in nursing enhancement and ensuring that healthcare policies reflect the evolving needs of the population.