Health cuts and hospitals closing: what about the health of the citizen?
This August, I went to the countryside where I spent most of my time as a child, on the hills overlooking a beautiful town above Monferrato. I happen to fall and hurt myself and so I feel I should see a doctor. Being away from my home town I obviously don’t have my GP to go to. So I ask in the pharmacy what I should do. They give me the name of two surgeries but which only see patients by appointment, with no doctor is available for private visits, which would, of course, have been for a fee. So I go to AE, I find it virtually deserted (even at six in the evening).
I am thoroughly examined and treated, although by doctors and staff that seem a bit sad and resigned. So I was curious to ask if things were going well, and what was causing this sadness in the air, as I had seen that the hospital, among other things, had recently been renovated and expanded. Most people tell me (as I move from one ward to another, my problem does not seem as simple as I thought, and I also get a tetanus shot) that the hospital is at risk of being sold. It does not have a high enough volume of patients to make financial sense to keep it open. The two nearest hospitals are forty minutes drive away: given the difficulty of finding anything else, even privately, I would have had to drive all that way, but how would I have done so as I’d fallen with severely bruising and maybe worse?
It is a really common problem: we must centralize and streamline, but shouldn’t we also leave some wider coverage available? And anyway, first we should save on other things, given what emerges daily in Italy from investigations by journalists and the local courts …