The trade unions: “Unsustainable shifts and young people flee to the peninsula or abroad”
SASSARI. They are the heroes of the pandemic, those who for months have given up their private life to dedicate themselves heart and soul to managing the emergency. Also risking health. More than two years after the emergency is theirs, because nurses and Oss are very few compared to the needs of the island’s health system, many are precarious and practically all are still forced to face grueling shifts to cover the holes in a system that, as a textbook , would require 4 thousand new hires. In addition, the deadline for the precarious hires to buffer the effects of the pandemic is approaching. For many it is set for 31 May and, even if the Region has invited health companies to extend their contracts until the end of the year, not everyone is willing to endure these conditions. There are alternatives, they lead to the rest of the country and abroad, where nurses earn better and have no temporary contracts. Meanwhile, on the island the emergency has become everyday, with double day shifts that should last a maximum of 12 hours but instead reach 14, but also 16 hours. And then the endless nights that do not even include the next 16 hours of rest guaranteed by the contract. Not to mention the balance of forces, established by a study commissioned by Nursind, one of the unions of the nursing professions, in one nurse for every six patients.
Nursind himself found very different proportions, especially during night shifts, with a ratio of one nurse for every 25 patients. The economic gratification is also missing, the one that at the end of the month could snatch a saving and regenerating “Well, all in all …”. Unfortunately, Italian nurses earn on average 30 per cent less than their colleagues in the rest of Europe.
The trade unions. “People are freaking out, the psychophysical well-being of the workers is not respected – explains Fabrizio Anedda, regional coordinator of Nursind -. We receive many reports from colleagues who can’t take it anymore. Companies impose impossible working hours and we have reports of colleagues who have asked for dismissal, perhaps to work in the private sector, to which the companies have said no. We have forwarded these complaints to the Labor Inspectorate and we await the first feedback ». The drama of the wards seems to have no solution: «We were pleased that the Region was concerned about strengthening the local health facilities – continues Anedda – but there is a lack of staff in the hospital wards. The stabilization of temporary workers would be a great help but would not solve the problem, let’s say that to get back on track at least 2 thousand hires would be needed “. Then there is an aspect that requires reflection: “Studies show that in hospitals where one is forced to work under staff – concludes Anedda – the mortality of patients can increase by up to 10 percent”.
To pray in flight. Snobbled for years on the island, the precarious are often at the center of transfer market-style negotiations, with the most far-sighted health companies (and Regions) who have opened the hunt for lane specialists by offering better working conditions and the consequent possibility of having a life even outside the hospital. Which in Sardinia seems to be postponed until a later date. Not to mention the offers that come from abroad and which often seem to be sewn on to the precarious health workers who in Italy earn about 1500 euros a month, without too many guarantees for the future, and in Germany, with permanent contracts, they receive 3500. Not to mention Switzerland, where a nurse can reach 5 thousand euros a month. «The number of nurses who retire is already higher and those who are trained – says Andrea Farris, manager of the Nursing Up -. With these perspectives, then, the struggle becomes unequal. There are already very few new nurses and they are further decreasing as many go abroad. To reverse the trend it is necessary to increase the training offer but we could also intervene immediately – continues Farris – by canceling the exclusivity constraint that binds nurses to a single structure. Abroad it does not exist and you can round up your wages by working intermittently in the private sector. Like doctors do. And then the salaries should be equated to the European average, around 1800 euros against the 1500 paid in Italy ».
On the stabilization of precarious workers, Farris has a doubt: “It is necessary to clarify whether the hires to deal with Covid, expiring at the end of May, will be renewed or not”. At stake are the holidays and the possibility of living the third consecutive summer confined to the ward, wearing a mask and a gown. Not exactly a relaxing prospect.