Main Article Content
Physician Shortage, Specialization, Hygiene and Preventive medicine, Health Planning
Background and Aim: In Italy, the number of physicians decreased in recent years due to retirements not being replaced by young specialists. To address this shortage of medical personnel, proper planning is needed, taking into consideration the number of accesses in medical schools and residency contracts. The main objective of this study is to deepen the data on the number of physicians, provide a prospective picture and make some suggestions for future planning.
Materials and Methods: Estimates of the number of physicians, contracts, assignments, and abandonments for specialist schools are based on data from the General Medical Council, the Ministry of University and Research, Eurostat and the “Associazione Liberi Specializzandi”.
Results: Estimates of the number of physicians for the period 2023-2032 predict the minimum availability of active doctors between 2028 and 2029. While there has been an increase in the number of contracts for residents in recent years, there are concurrently high dropout rates and non-assignment of contracts, varying across Schools of Specialization. An examination of the available data for the 39 Schools of Specialization in Hygiene and Preventive Medicine shows lower than-average abundance rates.
Conclusions: In recent decades, poor planning and early retirement have led to a shortage of doctors, particularly specialists, that will not be resolved until after 2030. Proposed solutions to this 'health emergency' include importing doctors from abroad, delaying the retirement age, recruiting junior doctors to the National Health Service and changing the distribution of junior doctor contracts.
3. Colombo A, Bassani G. Carenza di medici: ma per quale SSN? Dati, riflessioni e proposte dalla formazione. Igiene e Sanità Pubblica 2019; 75:385-402.
4. Odone A, Privitera G, Signorelli C and the Board of Directors of the Schools of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine. Post-graduate medical education in public health: the case of Italy and a call for action. Public Health Reviews 2017; 38: 24. doi:10.1186/s40985-017-0069-0.
5. Bucci D, Rossi D, Croci R, et al. The campaign “This Is Public Health” in Italy, set up by a team of Public Health Schools in Northern Italy. Acta Biomed. 2020 Apr 10;91
(3-S):171-174. doi: 10.23750/abm.v91i3-S.9508.
6. Elmer D, Endrei D, Németh N, et al. Changes in the Number of Physicians and Hospital Bed Capacity in -Europe. Value Health Reg Issues. 2022 Nov;32:102-108. doi: 10.1016/j.vhri.2022.07.003.
7. EUROSTAT, Health statistics. Eurostat database. https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statisticsexplained/index
8. Eurostat, Practicing physicians, 2015 and 2020 per 100.000 inhabitants. European Commission 2022.
9. Elmer D, Endrei D, Németh N, et al. Changes in the number of healthcare professionals in European healthcare systems between 2000 and 2018. Orv Hetil. 2022 Oct 9;163(41):1639-1648. Hungarian. doi: 10.1556
10. Winkelmann J, Muench U, Maier CB. Time trends in the regional distribution of physicians, nurses and midwives in Europe. BMC Health Serv Res. 2020 Oct 12;20(1):937. doi: 10.1186/s12913-020-05760-y.
11. Agenas, Il personale del Servizio Sanitario Nazionale. 2022. https://www.agenas.gov.it/images/agenas/In%20primo%20piano/personale/personale_ssn_2022.pdf.