05 September 2021
One hundred and thirty thousand deaths, intensive care collapsing in the most dramatic months of the pandemic that are now starting to fill up again, indecisions and continuous changes of course on vaccine prescriptions, erroneous forecasts on the second wave so much so that the Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, was forced to withdraw his book early because it was too “hopeful”. Of course, there were doctors and nurses who literally gave their lives to fight Covid, professionals who did not spare themselves and who still give everything they have to fight the virus. Now, however, while General Figliuolo aims at 80% of the vaccinated and the CTS prepares the ok for the third dose, Speranza had a sudden idea: the time has come to make the image of the health system more attractive. It must instill trust in the citizens. Like? With a “brand identity” operation.
On 6 July the Ministry of Health published a public notice “for the granting of a contribution aimed at organizing a competition for the design and creation of the logo and visual identity of the National Health Service”. In this way, the Ministry entrusts a partner with the task of launching a competition to create the best possible brand capable of relaunching the “perception” – as stated in the announcement – that Italians have of the health system. The logo and “visual identity” must “be highly recognizable” and able to “convey the value” of the national health system, “its founding principles, its peculiarities and its attention to the challenges of the near future”. In short, a marketing operation. In the public notice of the Ministry it is explained that “the perception that people have on the quality of the structures, on the services provided and on the competence of professionals working in the sector is controversial”. In the document that bears the signature of Secretary General Giovanni Leonardi, we also discover what are the factors that contribute, according to the Ministry, to creating this distorted perception in the minds of Italians. First of all, “the lack of knowledge, on a comparative level, of foreign welfare systems, that is, of the guarantees of care offered by other public welfare realities in the rest of the world”. Responsibilities, however, must also be sought elsewhere.
We also read that “the responsibility for cases of so-called territorial medical malpractice, the management of which depends on the individual Regions, are often attributed” tout court “to the Ministry of Health”. In short, the fault must be sought at the local level, not in the offices headed by the Minister. It is not yet clear how the new Speranza logo will manage to shift attention to the Regions. The graphic competition will also have to highlight the ministry’s merits, starting with the management of the pandemic. The notice reminds us that «in this tragic scenario, the Italian health personnel were the first in the Western world to have to face a very serious health emergency. The doctors and nurses who died from Covid, contracted in the exercise of their profession, are more than 400, while the numbers relating to auxiliary personnel serving in hospitals and assisted health residences (RSA) remain unspecified “. It is also emphasized that «the enormous sacrifice of our NHS was recognized through the candidacy of the Italian health body for the Nobel Peace Prize 2021 by the Gorbachev Foundation. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, physiotherapists, biologists, technicians, civilian and military operators, all of whom have faced the Covid-19 emergency in often dramatic and prohibitive situations with extraordinary self-denial to counter the spread of the pandemic “. The time has therefore come to “enhance the National Health System”, also because, the ministry writes that we are “painfully approaching the overcoming of the emergency”.
The partner who will have to start the competition was identified on August 3rd. It is the Italian Association of Visual Communication Design (AIAP). It will be his task to create “a real media event around the initiative and the development of the competition for the new logo and the definition of the visual identity of the NHS”. Unfortunately, there are not many funds available. The contribution of this collaboration is only ten thousand euros. It is not yet known, however, how Speranza intends to reward the best brand capable of relaunching the image of the healthcare system. And hers too.