Health Needs in Italy, Between Medical Desertification and the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Province Where You Go, Shortage of Health Personnel That You Find


  • Mariano Votta
  • Maria Vitale
  • Bianca Ferraiolo
  • Maria Eugenia Morreale


Medical desertification, NRRP-National Recovery and Resilience Plan, access to care, patients’ rights, civic participation, AHEAD-Action for Health and Equity: Addressing Medical Deserts, EU4Health, Inner Areas, health inequalities


From the North (Bolzano) to the South (Caltanissetta) of the Country, health worker shortages run across Italy. Realized by the NGO Cittadinanzattiva an analysis on the phenomenon of "medical desertification" in Italy and the measures planned by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. From the point of view of citizens and patients, this can only translate into a difficulty of access to care, an issue particularly close to Cittadinanzattiva's heart, which monitors it on a daily basis at national and local level thanks to the 250   sections of the Tribunal for Patients' Rights active across Italy. In particular, in Italy there are nine regions most affected by the above-mentioned phenomenon [1], which is not limited to the recent cases, however striking, of emergency room operators ignored in the budget law [2], and the growing voluntary post-pandemic resignation of nurses and social-health workers [3], but also concerns general practitioners, freely chosen paediatricians and many other specialists working in the National Health Service [4]. An initial civic mapping of the phenomenon of "medical desertification", combined with a detailed analysis of the actions planned on the territory under the measure of the NRRP Mission 6 Health - component C1: Proximity networks, facilities and telemedicine for   territorial health care (all merged in the Operational Plans of the CIS-Contratti Istituzionali di Sviluppo [5] for the execution and implementation of direct investments, signed by Italian Regions and Autonomous Provinces with the Ministry of Health in May 2022), has been carried out in Italy by Cittadinanzattiva, and the related public presentation at the national level was realized on 19 January 2023 in Rome in the presence of institutions and stakeholders [6]. As part of the European project AHEAD - Action for Health and Equity Addressing Medical Deserts [7], together with the other project partners, Cittadinanzattiva has also produced an online map [8] with information, for each province, on certain categories of health professionals working in public hospitals (hospital gynaecologist, hospital cardiologist and hospital pharmacist) rather than in primary care (general practitioner and paediatrician of free choice). [9]