Italy: Working conditions force an exodus of emergency room staff

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By Luca Palamara
medical personnel working a sub intensive care unit of the Tor Vergata Hospital in Rome, February 2022
medical personnel working a sub intensive care unit of the Tor Vergata Hospital in Rome, February 2022   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

In Italy, seven doctors quit their hospital jobs on average every day -- and the majority of those departing work in emergency rooms.

Difficult working conditions, poor organisation, long hours, and low pay is a mix of factors overshadowing the attraction for this area of medicine, much sought after in the past by young doctors seeking an exciting, fast-paced role with unique learning opportunities.

“This year, like the last year, saw almost 50% of positions in emergency medicine remain vacant, but many of those who fill these positions eventually decide to leave. In these conditions, the emergency room physicians will soon be a rare commodity,” Pierino Di Silverio, national secretary of the doctors' union ANAAO, told Euronews.

Angela Mauro is a paediatrician who, after four years of work in an emergency room in Naples, decided to move to Milan and to a different hospital unit.

“Since I left the emergency room, my quality of life and work changed completely, in terms of stress and satisfaction," Mauro told Euronews. 

"Now, I can actually study my patients, and that means treating and curing them in the best possible way: this is satisfying for physicians.”

Watch Euronews' video above to find out more.