PALERMO – Covid is slowing down. The pandemic is not over yet but the health emergency, at this very moment, is giving some respite. And the first effects are felt in Sicilian healthcare. Infections and hospitalizations drop, doors of exclusively Covid wards are closed and Covid hospitals are converted to ordinary activities.
For almost a year and a half, Sicilian healthcare has had to face everything with the logic of emergency. Convert hospitals, cancel scheduled interventions, block analyzes and treatments (including oncological) for non-Covid patients. Exhausted doctors, nurses and health workers, defined as “heroes” but who now no longer want to be heroes.
The time has come to plan, act and prepare. Last summer also gave a little respite, but the opportunity was wasted, so much so that many then pointed the finger because we were found unprepared for the second and third wave.
And so, here is that the dossiers on the table of the Regional Health Department, headed by Ruggero Razza after the judicial storm that involved him, cannot be postponed. Starting, in fact, with the reorganization of the regional hospital network.
Reorganization of the hospital network
The general managers of the structures, in all the provinces, are organizing for the reactivation of the beds that in this period had been destined for the Covid emergency. The priority is to give immediate answers to all patients with other pathologies and to dispose of waiting lists that have stretched uncontrollably.
At the same time, however, they are pressing for a point of balance to be agreed with the Department, a condition that does not cause fear that with a sudden worsening of the pandemic it will return to chaos. The completion of the construction sites for the new departments entirely dedicated to Covid patients, which the councilor has put among the first objectives to be completed, is also fundamental.
The medicine of the territory
To ease the pressure on hospitals, it is also necessary to integrate and implement local medicine as much as possible. The experience of Lombardy in the first wave has shown it: without a real interconnection with the territorial structures and with family doctors, the system goes haywire.
And even if the vaccination campaign that is proceeding at a good pace, despite the “black days” of AstraZeneca, gives hope to see the infections and, above all, the new hospitalizations, ordinary and in intensive care, lower, the fear of a fourth wave, due perhaps to new variants of the virus, it cannot and should not be underestimated.
Community homes, community hospitals (of which there are at least 30 in the floors), community nurses: in the most genuine respect for the principle of proximity, health care must be accessible to citizens already at the lowest level. And most importantly, this level must enjoy the trust of the citizens.
Stabilization, hiring, recruitment
The path to achieve these objectives inevitably passes from the increase of the staff employed. In many Sicilian Asps, the stabilization processes of historical precarious workers are underway, but the Councilor, speaking to Tgr Rai, announced, shortly after his return, that he had immediately signed a directive with which he gave the green light to ” organization of competitions for nurses and socio-health workers.
An act that has the purpose of sending a signal to all the health structures of the island where the dialogue with the trade unions is underway, or has yet to start, for the updating of the plans of the needs and of the staffing supplies. A process started weeks ago with the council resolution that established a new and increased spending ceiling for health personnel.
The emergency personnel after the Hubs
The competitions will also make it possible to absorb a large part of the temporary staff recruited in these months in the emergency structures (for example in the Hubs throughout Sicily). The intention of the Department is to provide for them the possibility of presenting themselves to the selections with a higher starting score than other competitors.
A concrete answer for these people who, used intensively in the hardest phase of the emergency, risk finding themselves forgotten once the storm has passed.