In a pandemic year the Regions Italians have only activated 922 new beds of intensive care. As soon as a quarter respect to 3.591 provided for by count government, which with the law decree of May 19, 2020 he had earmarked for upgrading hospital care in total over 1.4 billion, of which 711 million they were requested by the Regions precisely to increase the number of beds available in intensive care. The 2021 Report on the coordination of public finance of the Court of Auditors shows that that money remained in the drawer and the beds in large part never activated. “At the end of April, the upgrading works were completed only 25.7 percent“, The report reads,“ with particularly pronounced differences between Regions ”. In Valle d’Aosta, Molise e Basilicata the monitoring conducted by the Ministry of Health does not report any progress, while only the Province of Bolzano at the end of April it activated all 40 beds foreseen. Then there are among the best Regions Emilia Romagna e Abruzzo (above 75%), among the worst are Sicily, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Piedmont e Lombardy, which they activated less than 10% of the planned intensive therapies.
The report of the Court of Auditors, based on data from the Ministry of Health, shows how overall they are missing from the appeal 2,669 intensive care beds provided for in the plan of the then extraordinary emergency commissioner, Domenico Arcuri, and for which the money had been earmarked as early as May last year. Places that during the second wave were to be used to avoid the collapse of the departments already tested in spring 2020, especially in northern Italy and in particular in Lombardy. The saturation of intensive care was in fact inserted last October among parameters which determine the colors of the Regions, the openings and closures. But also in the fall little or nothing has been done: in October, governors accused Arcuri of failing to provide lung ventilators. Arcuri replied emphasizing precisely the regional delays: even then they were missing from the appeal 1600 beds for which the material had already been sent.
The Conte government’s plan was to bring all Regions to have an endowment of 0,14 ICU beds each a thousand inhabitants, per “adjust with immediate availability of hospitalization facilities in terms of intensive and semi-intensive care beds, in line with the growing numbers of pandemic interrupting that tendency to decrease which had characterized above all thelast decade“, Writes the Court of Auditors. Which also underlines in his report how they were intended other resources and planned further measures also for the endowment of healthcare personnel, for the strengthening of territorial structures and to restore the hospital activities that had stopped during the lockdown, such as screenings. Measures that “aimed to affect aspects more problematic assistance, mainly attributed to the choices made in the last years“, Reads the report. In practice, the goal was to intervene on fragility already existing of the Italian health system that the coronavirus has completely laid bare.
The 1.413 billion euros allocated on 19 May 2020 were therefore needed only to enhance hospital care, as required byarticle 2 of the law decree number 24. Therefore, to adapt the equipment of intensive and semi-intensive care beds, for the restructuring of the Emergency room (in particular, to create separate pathways between Covid and non-Covid patients), as well as to increase the ambulances available. “The interventions scheduled by the Regions have been approved from the ministry ”, writes the Court of Auditors, then reporting the picture of the interventions, which shows i severe delays in implementation. In Lombardy, for example, they are activated 47 ICU beds on 585 foreseen. In Piedmont the places activated on April 29 are 20 out of 299 expected. In Veneto in mid-April they are 60 out of 211, in Sicily just 10 out of 301. Less worse they make the Puglia which at the end of the month activated 71 out of 276 or the Lazio with 97 his 282.
But the delays do not concern only the activation of beds in intensive care. “The implementation of the semi-intensive stations is similar: dei 4.238 beds provided, had been completed on 25.5 percent, 1081 beds ”, reads the report, which always cites the monitoring data relating to the end of April. The government’s goal was retrain the semi-intensive area, “through the adaptation and restructuring of units in the medical area, providing that such workstations they are usable both in the ordinary regime and in the infectious disease treatment regimen with high intensity of care “. Based on the trend of the pandemic curve, the half of the more than 4 thousand semi-intensive places planned could be converted – intentionally – in intensive care facilities. It remained a theoretical prediction, because in one year well 6 Regioni have not activated not even one of these beds. The Province of Bolzano activated 37 out of 37 planned, theAbruzzo 79.3%, while Piedmont, Veneto e Campania they have made about half of them. All the other Regions did worse.
The planned interventions on Emergency room they were 474: as soon as 65 of these were made (the 13.7 percent). Finally, the programs included the implementation of means of transport sanitary. Of the 230 ambulances planned had been purchased 108 (47%) and delivered and tested 44, of which 29 in Campania and 9 in Emilia-Romagna. And what happened to the money allocated by the Conte government? They were stuffed into the Pnnr: the plan provides in fact a program of modernization of the hospital technology park. “4.05 billion has been allocated for this purpose, of which 1.41 billion corresponds to those already foreseen with the legislative decree 34/2020 (article 2) for the strengthening of intensive and sub-intensive care beds and for the modernization of the emergency rooms ”, explain the accounting magistrates.