Italy urgently needs more medical staff and respirator specialists


Italian healthcare is on the ropes. The urgent need to increase the capacity of intensive care units is now joined by the challenge of finding enough specialists to handle artificial respirators. As a result of the pandemic, an additional 5,000 doctors are needed.

“The problem we face is that only specialists can work within intensive care units. This includes both doctors and specialized nurses. The figures are not encouraging. Furthermore, we need 2,000 more doctors than They can handle respirators. This is because there are not enough trained doctors, “says Carlo Palermo, national representative of the doctors union” Anaao Assomed ‘.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Government has planned to increase the number of ICU beds. He now has 5,200 beds and wants to double this number.

“This would mean adding more beds where right now there is a visible lack of medical personnel. Which means reducing the level of safety and the quality of the treatments,” adds Carlo Palermo.

Hiring trainees, who have not yet completed their studies, has proven to be a possible solution. In northern regions of the country, such as Piedmont and Lombardy, local authorities have even turned to NGOs to help them get doctors from around the world.

Dr. Foad Aodi is the president of the Association of Foreign Doctors living in Italy. The group represents a total of 77,500 professionals, including nursing staff. Normally a full citizenship is required to be hired. Although, given the emergency, a recent decree has allowed validating their applications. However, only a few of them have taken this path.

“Some regional authorities give their political interpretation to the legislation. In other cases, they call us directly in search of contacts of foreign doctors without caring much if they have or do not have full citizenship”, says Dr. Foad Aodi, president of the associations’ AMSI ‘and’ UMEM ‘.

The regions of Italy can make their own decisions regarding public health. The association has appealed to the Government; it requires that legislation be applied in the same way throughout the country. Italy’s global investment in the health sector represents only 8% of the country’s GDP. It is below the average of other European nations such as Germany and France. The problem is recurring and, now, it is one more obstacle in the fight against the coronavirus.


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