Public Policy Dynamics Italy #7

by RPP colleagues

Health and Politics in Italy

Total COVID-19 cases:3,668,264
14-day total COVID-19 cases per 100,000:489.4
14-day change:-28.5
Total COVID-19 deaths:111,030
14-day rise:6,088
  • Parliament has finally approved the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR), the investment programme that Italy has to present to the European Commission in the framework of the Next Generation EU. The Government intends to address the immediate health, social and economic consequences of the pandemic crisis, but also structural economic and social issues.
  • Health Minister Roberto Speranza has unveiled the Ministry's 2021 Policy Address Act which, among the Ministry's other priorities for this year, aims to reduce the fragmentation of governance on health through reinforced coordination between the Government and the Regions. A radical change in the National Health System is certainly felt to be necessary, as explained in a recent study conducted by Censis-Janssen Italia.
  • Vaccination is to become a prerequisite for practice for Italian doctors, nurses and pharmacists – medical staff have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of December to continue practising in the profession. More immediately, the President of the Superior Health Council has announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe for all people over the age of 18. Meanwhile, the largest batch of vaccines (Pfizer) since the beginning of the campaign has been delivered.

Politics

  • Both the Chamber of Deputies (on 31 March) and the Senate (on 1 April) have approved the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR). The Plan is the investment programme that Italy has to present to the European Commission in the framework of the Next Generation EU, the instrument to respond to the pandemic crisis caused by Covid-19. With the PNRR, the Government intends to address the immediate health, social and economic consequences of the pandemic crisis, but also structural economic and social issues. The Plan is structured into six Missions, each of which indicates the sector reforms necessary for a more effective implementation of the interventions, as well as the most relevant profiles for the pursuit of the Plan's three transversal priorities, identified as Gender Equality, Youth and Territorial Rebalancing.
    - Mission 1: Digitalisation, Innovation, Competitiveness and Culture
    - Mission 2: Green revolution and ecological transition
    - Mission 3: Infrastructure for sustainable mobility
    - Mission 4: Education and Research
    - Mission 5: Inclusion and Cohesion
    - Mission 6: Health

 

Health

  • Roberto Speranza has unveiled the Ministry's 2021 Policy Act (Atto di Indirizzo Politico 2021), which outlines the Ministry’s priorities for this year. One of the main objectives is to overcome fragmentation in health governance through greater coordination between Government and Regions. The priorities also include increasing the number of health personnel, the development of digital health and the implementation of the rule on the entry of joint stock companies in the management of pharmacies. The health ministerwent on to clarify that, in order to improve the quality of public health, as an index of a nation's level of civilisation, it will be necessary to enhance the human, financial and instrumental resources that impact on the functioning and financing of the National Health Service.
  • A shift is certainly felt necessary, as explained in a recent study conducted by Censis in collaboration with Janssen Italia. A good portion of Italians believe that the necessary impetus has not yet been given to mark a change of pace in the National Health Service – according to the Censis study, in fact, over 40% of Italians do not believe that the health service in their region would be ready to face any new emergencies. Almost the entire population (93.2%) considers it a priority to invest more resources in health care and dedicated personnel. Italians also have clear ideas about how these resources should be allocated. 91.7% of citizens believe that a strong boost should be given to virus and disease prevention activities. Almost unanimously (94%), they call for the strengthening of local healthcare. Lastly, another aspect that citizens feel should be included in the healthcare system of the future is digital technology: 70.3% believe that greater use should be made of telemedicine and digital solutions for remote monitoring, diagnosis and treatment.

 

Covid-19

  • Italian doctors, nurses and pharmacists will have to be vaccinated against Covid-19by the end of December, according to a new Covid-19 decree approved on Wednesday (7 March) by the Italian Council of Ministers. So, vaccination becomes a prerequisite for practising the profession and carrying out the work of those obliged under the decree, and staff who refuse to take the vaccine will be transferred to office duties.
  • On vaccination, following the EMA's conclusions, the President of the Superior Health Council (Consiglio Superiore di Sanità) Franco Locatelli announced that the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine would be recommended preferentially for the over-60s, but that no ban would be imposed for other ages. As he pointed out, the Anglo-Swedish vaccine has been approved for everyone over 18 so, despite the preferential recommendation, it can be used for everyone.
  • However, it seems that there remain delays with the delivery of AstraZeneca vaccines, which will deliver only 50% of the doses scheduled for 14 April (175 thousand instead of 340 thousand). The company has, however, already announced that the missing 50% will be distributed together with the deliveries scheduled for 16 and 23 April. Meanwhile, on 6 April, 1.5 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine arrived, representing the largest batch of vaccines delivered since the beginning of the campaign, which will particularly benefit the most vulnerable.

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