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'Keep doctors working until they're 70,' struggling Italian hospitals tell government

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'Keep doctors working until they're 70,' struggling Italian hospitals tell government
Photo: AFP
09:46 CEST+02:00
Regional health authorities are calling on Italy's government to allow them to recruit retired doctors and keep those older than 65 working until they're 70, as a means of tackling their serious shortages of medical practitioners.

Short-staffed hospitals across Italy are pushing for the retirement age of the country's physicians to be extended to the age of 70 in their regions.

The proposal is part of a 16-point document to be presented to Italy's Ministry of Health in the coming days which aims for there to be a "regulatory amendment on age limits for the retirement of medical personnel".

Currently doctors in Italy can retire once they've turned 65 or having worked for 40 years.

Struggling regional governments are calling for those "who reach 40 years of service at 66-67 years and would like to continue working” to do so.

Italy's ageing medical workforce is somewhat of a sleeping giant.

By 2025, 38,000 doctors will have retired (45,000 if you include general practitioners),causing  a shortage that will be further aggravated by the fact that Italian universities are not able to train enough graduates to supply hospitals with specialists.

The regional health councils' proposal therefore also includes a measure proposing young medical graduates who haven't chosen a specialization yet to be recruited more easily as GPs.

Closely tied to this is the idea of regions offering specialist training scholarships which include a fixed contract at the end to young doctors, as well as forging a closer working relationship between local health authorities and universities, all as a means of speeding up the recruitment process in Italy's struggling health sector.

Regions such as Veneto have in fact already tried to take matters into their own hands by headhunting retired physicians. Molise in the south has called on army doctors to help out and Tuscany has started recruiting younger doctors.

 

 
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