This is the 18th edition of the Health&Hospitals Report, which has, each year since the very beginning, sought to take stock of and review the performance of Italian hospitals, comprised of a public component and a private (accredited) component that coexist in a mixed system: the former with 131,000 patient beds and the latter with 57,000, in order to cope with 8.7 million yearly in-patient admissions and a public expenditure of EUR 64.9 billion, equal to 55.9% of total public healthcare spending.
Traditionally, the Report makes it assessment from two perspectives, one that considers the dynamics of the hospital-services supply system (with its inherent light and dark spots), and one that has sought out the opinions and evaluations of citizens and users with regard to the aforementioned services: all under the responsibility of a "third party" who independently conducts the necessary research, surveys and analyses.
The Health&Hospitals/2020 Report has had to contend with a very special year, one in which it encountered both the normal evolution of the system and the special developments that arose from the impact of the, still ongoing, pandemic. Thus the joint effort made by the public facilities and the accredited private facilities to meet the needs of Covid patients during the first phase of the Corona virus from February to September has been reported on: this is an initial study given that an overall assessment for 2020 will only be possible during the course of 2021, when the necessary data and information become fully available. Parallel to this - and in a continuous manner - the equally (if not more serious) issue of inpatient non-Covid patients was addressed by a field survey on the Italian population, for whom expected hospital and non-hospital services have been postponed, not infrequently with a hefty build-up of waiting lists, beginning already back in 2019 and being augmented by those appearing at the start of 2020.
This has led to the problems of the National Health Service that were already present before the pandemic (such as the prolonged defunding of the system and that of unsatisfactory levels relating to timeliness, quality and uniform availability throughout local areas of services) being compounded by those generated by the pandemic, with the result of an intertwining of inconveniences for both Covid patients and non-Covid patients. Yet, the situation created by the impact of the Corona virus has contributed to calls for a certain "opening up" on the economic-financial resources front, potentially indicating a reverse of the trend of the recent the past. The present situation gives hope for a rebalancing in terms of attention and financing of the health system, fully supported by the change in the European context that has taken place since the pandemic impact, which will, however, need to be transformed into resources effectively available through Italy's ability to access them and direct the flows towards significant medium-term investments in the health sector.
This means embarking on a transformation of the system that will promote the coexistence of public and private facilities to the fullest extent, as well as a parallel overhaul of the organizational, management and reporting methods by the public health administration, so that (ideally) the well-invested resources will achieve greater efficiency of the "machine" and, above all, result in added value to the services for patients.
Ermeneia – Studi & Strategie di Sistema is a company that specializes in providing analytical and consulting activities to trade associations and public and private clients, including those operating in the healthcare service sector, who are actively redesigning their presence and operational methods to remain in step with progressive changes in Italy.
AIOP – Associazione Italiana Ospedalità Privata (Italian Association of Private Hospitals) is a trade association that represents hospital facilities of the privately-operated component of the NHS and private healthcare facilities, throughout every region of Italy, which employ just over 70,000, accounting for 11% of the operators of the entire system, who provide hospital services to 15% of patients.