Flight of white coats: the dimensions and causes of the phenomenon

Flight of white coats: the dimensions and causes of the phenomenon

Fifty-year-old doctor, dissatisfied with his job and his private life, even willing to screw everything up and change his life and work: this is the sketch of a large part of Italian white coats, in crisis with their profession and even willing to expatriate to overcome this state of alienation. An (almost) mass phenomenon that is becoming more evident every day and which has a very specific cause: Italy’s low spending in the health sector, also exacerbated by the new needs and workloads imposed by Covid. This is what emerges from the survey conducted by Anaao Assomed to which 2130 doctors and health managers responded. More than half of health professionals declare dissatisfied More than half (56.1%) of doctors and health managers are dissatisfied with the conditions of their work and 1 out of 4 (26.1%) also with the quality of their relationship or family life. An unequivocal symptom of how much hospital work has become a cause of suffering and alienation. A dissatisfaction that grows with the increase in length of service and responsibilities, so much so that young doctors in training (24.6%) declare themselves less dissatisfied than older colleagues (36.5%), among whom it reaches its peak in the age group between 45 and 55 years. Looking at the geographical location, it is not surprising that the crisis of the profession is felt more in the South than in the North: it ranges from 53.6% in the North, passing through 56.3% in the Center to end up in the South and Islands with as many as 64. 2% dissatisfied. But the data appears so widespread that it almost constitutes an endemic pathology with which to live and for which there is no vaccine or therapy. However, there are areas where real desertification is taking place. What doctors ask to be satisfied Among the doctors’ requests, first place is occupied by salary increases with 63.9% of the answers and by greater availability of time with 55.2%, with a prevalence of the time factor for women (39.5%) over men (47.56%) who instead aim, to a greater extent, at more adequate wages. For the over 65s (15.8%) greater safety is also a priority compared to younger colleagues (6.3%). Conversely, young people’s need for greater availability of time for family and free time is higher (37.9%) than colleagues with longer service (27.6%). The final question about the future calls for disturbing answers: 36%, or almost 1 out of 3 appears willing to change their current job; 20% of the interviewees still declare themselves undecided, a sign of the fact that at least once they have wondered about the future of the profession and its role within the system. Healthcare spending among the lowest in Europe Today in Italy only 6.1% of GDP is spent on healthcare, the lowest figure among the G7 countries, well below the European average of 11.3%, while the cost of private healthcare is equal to 2.3%, slightly above the European average. To recover the gap accumulated with other nations, an annual increase in the Health Fund of 10 billion euros would be needed. But also questions of organization and political choices weigh in favor of proximity medicine, which today appears humiliated just like hospital work (read this article on the shortage of general practitioners). For We need a profound strategic reprogramming of health policies, a paradigm shift that makes a clear investment in professional work, which represents the most precious capital in public health. Otherwise, the Pnrr will also represent yet another missed opportunity.



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