Veneto, primary doctors shortage alarm: “We are heading towards the peak of retirements. And the Region has not invested in training grants: it is last in Italy”

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Health managed by Veneto regionwhich costs 10 and a half billion euros a year, is unable to ensure coverage through the essential health facility in 670 areas of its territorybecause of lack of as many general practitioners. This means that in those situations, citizens have to go to the emergency room or only to private facilities. The complaint comes from the regional group of Democratic party through a study carried out by researchers Stefano Dal Pra Caputo And Francesco Peron that they have elaborated official data from Istat, the Ministry of Health and the Agency for regional health services. This is an indictment against the planning failure of the Region which would not have taken steps to invest in a sufficient number of training grants and which is now about to pay a high price also due to the medical retirement curve, which will reach its peak in 2023-2024. “Even the union representatives of general practitioners were amazed, they did not think the situation was so serious” explained the regional councilors Giacomo Possamai, Vanessa Camani, Anna Maria Bigon, Francesca Zottis, Jonatan Montanariello and Andrea Zanoni. “We are facing a perfect storm, with the real risk of breaking the system”.

RECORD RETIREMENTS – According to the study, in the next two years it will register the peak of 184 and 179 retirements. But in the space of 15 years, until 2035, it will come to an outflow of over 1,900 professionals. There were 2,973 general practitioners at the end of 2021, with an exodus forecast of 477 units in the three-year period 2021-23, equal to 16 per cent of the total, with an estimate that reaches 64.6 per cent by 2035. This situation is also an effect of the high age of doctors. Currently the under 55 are 1,106, equal to 37.2 per cent of the total, while the over 55 are 1,867 or 62.8 per cent. In particular, the provinces of Rovigo and Belluno 31.1 and 26.6 percent respectively recorded the greatest presence of family doctors between 65 and 68 years of age, therefore close to retirement. In Polesine, therefore, nearly one in three doctors will retire in the next three to four years.

INSUFFICIENT BAGS – How to guarantee the turnover? The sore point concerns precisely the investments in the training of general practitioners through specialization grants. Veneto is very late, even in last place with 0.17 grants per 1,000 inhabitants. From 2014-2021 in Veneto 810 were put up for bids, 272 fewer than Piedmont and 93 fewer than Emilia Romagna, which have about half a million fewer inhabitants than Veneto; while Tuscany, which has 1 million and 200 thousand fewer inhabitants, has made 97 more scholarships available than Veneto. “All this is the result of bad planning – argue the leaders of the Democratic Party – which did not take into account the ‘pension hump’. Furthermore, until 2018 the Regions obtained from the State (for grants and organizational expenses) the resources they requested. This makes the error even more macroscopic, given that in those years Veneto has asked for much fewer grants than smaller regions: between 2014 and 2017, Tuscany asked for 316, Emilia-Romagna 270, Veneto only 175. When what was asked for could be obtained, Veneto did not ask for enough. And when the blanket became short, and less was obtained from the state than was needed, some Regions chose to put in their own resources ”.

BUCK AND ANSWER The representatives of the Democratic Party conclude: “The Veneto government has very little to unload responsibility elsewhere. After the ‘great sleep’ of previous years, now even the progressive increases in ministerial funds are not enough to fill the chasms, in terms of shortcomings, that have been created over time. The citizens of Veneto find themselves in a health system where family doctors begin to appear for a fee and which can no longer be defined as authentically public “. The regional Northern League councilor Manuela Lanzarin sends the ball back to the state: “The shortage of doctors is a national problem, which went and will be solved at the government level.” Compared to the study of the Democratic Party, it even indicates a lower number of general practitioners in service, 2,875. “I wouldn’t use catastrophic terms, because in the face of 462 exodusuntil 2025 700 young doctors will graduate from the School of Public Health of the Region“. A replica that though it does not take into account two aspects: the 670 already missing must be added to the 462 exodus. And not all 700 in the specialization phase will finish the course. The councilor insists on discharging the responsibilities to the state level: “We touch daily how complex it is to guarantee the need for ‘white coats’ according to the needs of the system. Unfortunately, the number of medical graduates is not congruent with the needs, and this does not depend on a regional choice “.

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