Minister Stefano Balduzzi's idea is simple: to make sure that family doctors, by associating themselves, guarantee assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The aim is to decongest hospital emergency departments.
The project, included in the health decree that will be presented to the Council of Ministers this week, substantially corresponds to the proposal of the "health homes" put forward by the general practitioners themselves, who are asking for more public resources to be allocated to be able to implement it. On the other hand, the associative spirit is not lacking, which, at least in our parts, is already highly developed.
«Associationism – reports Euro Grassi [in the picture], provincial secretary of the Federation of general practitioners – has taken hold since 1997. Now 320 out of 340 family doctors are members. About ninety are grouped together, taking turns ensuring assistance both in the morning and in the afternoon in the same clinic. There are six groups in the Reggio health district, four in Scandiano, as many in Guastalla, two in Castelnovo Monti and one in Montecchio. However, these are loss-making initiatives due to higher costs for structures and personnel». The other associative experience is instead consolidated.
More than two hundred general practitioners are connected to the network, making themselves available to colleagues' patients for urgent visits and coordinating times so that at least one clinic is open until 7 pm. In theory, therefore, already now there should be no difficulty to receive the necessary assistance throughout the 24 hours. In fact, during the day you can find your doctor's surgery or that of one associated with him open, you can request a home visit between 8 and 20 and, during the night and on weekends, you have the emergency medical Service.
"However – observes Grassi – the continuity of care is hampered by the fact that out of 120 emergency medical workers only 30 are residents. It would be necessary to guarantee a permanent emergency medical service". But the most effective solution, according to Fimmg, can be found in the Catalan model and health centers in England: these are structures open 24 hours a day in which general practitioners, paediatricians, other specialists and nurses work together, with the help of some employees.
“The general practitioners – explains Grassi – have moved. The region, on the other hand, has so far paid little attention to their proposals. We trust that the minister will make a real revolution by securing the necessary funding. Since there are no additional funds available, it is necessary for the state and the regions to rebalance health spending to the benefit of the territory. Now, however, basic medicine receives only 6% of resources,