Venice’s Public Hospital Downgraded: A Serious Decision by the Region

L'ospedale Civile di Venezia Santi Giovanni e Paolo-2

It’s in last place in the hierarchy of hospitals after Dolo, Mirano and San Donà. Funding and Head Physician posts are at risk. Ex-Mayor Bergamo writes to Brugnaro.

By Alberto Vitucci

22 March 2019

VENEZIA. Venice has been downgraded by the Region. The Public Hospital reduced to a “Basic Hospital”, the lowest classification available. It’s like any provincial building. Now it faces the prospect of further reductions in funding. A storm has erupted over the new “regional schedules” approved by the Zaia administration with a resolution on 13 March, which classify the 68 hospital facilities in the Veneto Region. The historic hospital of San Giovanni e Paolo, the only health care facility available in the historic city and the islands, has been downgraded to the lowest level. The schedules now go to the Commission and then to a vote in the Regional Council.

A mobilization is underway. There are protests from the unions and politicians in Venice. Leading the way in this “revolt” is a former Mayor and Commissioner, Parliamentarian and prominent member of the UDC. Yesterday Attorney Ugo Bergamo sent an open letter to Mayor Luigi Brugnaro, the manager of Venice’s health care systems, to Venice’s parliament members and to the Regional Councilors. Unions and related organizations are mobilizing. “This is a serious and incomprehensible decision, which will have repercussions on the lives of Venice’s citizens”, writes Bergamo, “and place the city in great risk for the future”.

The three levels of hospitals are, first, the “Hub” hospitals; there are five in Veneto, each with a service population of a million inhabitants, and two hospitals of regional importance (Belluno and Rovigo). Then there are the “spoke” hospitals, and last, the network or basic hospitals. The majority of the hospitals are in the “spoke” category. Meanwhile the historic city’s hospital, in the capital city of the Region, has ended up in last place. It’s not only a question of prestige. “In the coming years”, explains Bergamo, “most of the resources in terms of personnel and instruments for diagnostics and care will only go to hospitals in the first two categories, while only crumbs will be left for the basic hospitals”.

A setback has been announced, and the city is mobilizing. For years the capital has fought against the insensitivity of the Region, which distributes resources based on the number of residents. Thus national funding for transportation and for health care has been cut. “It’s true that there are only 50 thousand residents in the lagoon”, writes Bergamo to Brugnaro, “but this concerns one of the most important tourist cities in the world, as well as a destination for public personalities from the entire planet”. We need to stop the decline in the quality of services, and the risk that Venice could fall to the level of a “non-city”.

It’s an emergency that is part of what was already a worrisome situation. According to CGIL [the labor union] the ASL 3 Serenissima [the Agency that runs Veneto’s hospitals] has reduced the number of patient beds by 169. There is also a lack of doctors (short 128 of 973 total), nurses (short 46 out of 3227) and other health care workers (short 53 out of 1046).

Emergency room doctors and specialists are also needed. Asl has posted notices for hiring replacements, but it isn’t enough. Above all in light of this misguided downgrade. Becoming a “basic hospital” means not even having the coveted positions for specialists and doctors who are looking for chief physician roles. The inevitable consequence is that the quality of the services and head doctors will diminish. Yet more than a few initiatives have been launched for a cultural recovery in the area of the Civic Hospital. The public areas and services (for appointments and exams) have been renovated, the museum is open, and the entryway to the Scuola Grande di San Marco has been cleaned up. But with the cut in resources everything will be more difficult.

Source: La Nuova Venezia

2 thoughts on “Venice’s Public Hospital Downgraded: A Serious Decision by the Region

  1. This is truly a travesty done to a city that hosts the world . I ave been staying in Venice for many years. The Venetians deserve better.


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