Mario Balzanelli, national president of the territorial emergency system, rings the alarm for politics: “Enough with the role of Cinderella of the National Health Service”
“The 118 territorial emergency system is included at the top of the revision of the NRP in health care. Cease on 118 chronic and relapsing blindness, deafness, amnesia and crepuscular blunting of the institutions. It’s time to ring the alarm for those who decide: 118 it’s a life-saving system, it can’t wait any longer “. Mario Balzanelli, national president of the Italian Society system 118 (Sis 118), underlines this to Adnkronos Salute, sending a message to politicians 2 weeks before the elections. “118 – recalls Balzanelli – is not a number, but it is the national territorial emergency system, that is the institutional shield which, in fact, saves the lives of Italians 24 hours a day, every day of the year. It cannot be relegated to role of Cinderella of the NHS “.
The Sis 118 publicly denounced in May 2018 “the state of abandonment and very serious crisis” of the system. “We wonder how it is possible to continue this absurd aberration that has affected 118 for at least twenty years – he continues – Who can benefit from it? At least 8 million citizens a year, at any time of day or night, holidays and holidays, they turn to 118, with the net result of countless human lives saved. Yet 118 has been and is systematically excluded from any legislative measure of investment and support in health – reports Balzanelli – punctually absent from the funds allocated to health (beyond 37 billion) by the last 3 governments, totally disappeared from the health planning of the NRP, in which it is never mentioned and in relation to which the allocation of resources was not foreseen even for a single euro. This is an inadmissible, bitter paradox “.
Balzanelli disputes how “a reform of local medicine has been implemented without including the territorial emergency system which, by law, is a substantial and decisive part”. An even more bitter paradox after more than 2 years of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Since January 2020 the pandemic maxi-emergency and in particular the national population have found in the 118 system, and in all its operators, the ‘broad-shouldered’ bulwark – claims Balzanelli – which has taken on the task of withstanding the impressive impact of the hundreds of thousands of emergencies, which have been dealt with in a competent and strenuous way, with total self-denial, working in extremely risky and sometimes impossible conditions, in the real hottest and most dramatic trench of the front line, even at the cost of our lives. paid a very high personal price “.
“Well – comments Balzanelli bitterly – all this, for the State and the health planning of the various governments, did not count for anything. ‘first line’, but perhaps, considering the reality, it might be more appropriate to call us the ‘zero line’, because exactly zero is the consideration that has been had – he remarks – of 118 and of us operators in the last 20 years “.
Yet the same Sis 118, as the president recalls, “promoted in 2016 and 2019 a legislative turning point that would support the strengthening and enhancement of the territorial emergency system and its operators, doctors, nurses and driver-rescuers, and above all that it should ensure uniform and excellent standards of rescue and access to time-dependent care in the various regional territories for the national population, and particularly for those in danger of life “.
The to-do list is long. “It is necessary to reduce the response times to acute and critical events as much as possible (direct access to 118 without going through 112), to increase the means of emergency and the presence of medical-nursing staff (one medical and nursing station for every 60,000 inhabitants) , recognize the 118 character of a departmental macrostructure, equip the operational centers with the most advanced satellite geolocation systems and technology capable of allowing real-time connection with all emergency scenarios, as well as ensuring telemedicine paths, specialist teleconsultation and remote teleassistance as needed; provide for specific environmental and biological risk indemnities for all system operators (doctors, nurses, driver-rescuers), allow the transition to dependency on an optional basis of affiliated doctors with seniority of at least 5 years, establish the professional figure of the driver-rescuer “.
For Balzanelli, “challenges of primary importance await our country, now imminent. The national 118 calls for attention, respect and appreciation to the reforms of Italy to come”.