Strengthening Italy's national health system
The Italian government has mobilised all the necessary resources to ensure the national health system, civil protection service and police forces have the personnel and equipment they need to help people affected by the virus and to prevent, mitigate and contain the epidemic.
- Italy's National Emergency Fund has been refinanced for a total of 1.65 billion.
- Resources have been identified to cover the hiring of 20,000 people, already approved, for the national health system. Extraordinary measures have been taken to recruit health care personnel, also derogating from public employment regulations. Plans are also in place for health care personnel to access Italy’s national health system, with a one-year fixed-term contract. The country's regional authorities will therefore be able to re-plan their staffing requirements.
- The allocation of resources for health care workers’ overtime has increased by € 250 million for 2020.
- Assistance is guaranteed in the event of a GP being replaced, with the possibility to temporarily appoint qualified graduates who are enrolled on the primary health care training course or specialisation courses.
- Funding has been provided for the increased number of intensive care beds and for pneumology and infectious disease units (also derogating from spending limits), while private structures must make their on-duty medical staff, premises and equipment available (for a total cost of 400 million).
- Invitalia is authorised to issue subsidised loans or free grants to companies producing medical devices and personal protective equipment (50 million).
- Italy's Civil Protection service may order the requisition of medical-surgical equipment and movable goods that are necessary to deal with the health emergency, from public or private entities. Prefects may order the requisition of hotels or properties with similar characteristics in order to accommodate people under medical surveillance (150 million).
- It will be possible to increase the number of military medical and nursing staff by 320 resources, with an exceptional one-year stop, while military health services shall also be strengthened. INAIL [Italian National Institute for Insurance against Accidents at Work] will be able to hire 200 specialist doctors and 100 nurses on fixed-term contracts, while more resources will also be allocated to the Istituto Superiore di Sanità [Italian National Health Institute] to meet epidemiological surveillance needs (these measures amount to approximately 68 million).
- Should it not be possible to recruit new personnel, there will be the possibility to keep on National Health Service staff who would have otherwise retired.
- An exception has been made to the rules for the recognition of professional health care qualifications, allowing those who have qualified in a health care profession abroad to temporarily practise in Italy, as governed by specific directives issued by the European Union.
- The military pharmaceutical plant in Florence is authorised to produce and distribute disinfectants, germicides and bactericides.
- The tax effects generated by the sale of medicines for compassionate use have been neutralised, treating the sale of such medicines in the same way as if they had been destroyed for VAT purposes and excluding their normal value from contributing to revenues for direct tax purposes. In fact, the current tax rules in force prevent the VAT deduction from being applied to these types of medicine and involve taxation for business income purposes.
- Contracted medical practitioners are entitled to the difference between the contractual increases already recognised and guaranteed as a result of the National Collective Bargaining Agreements in force and the incremental total provided for in 2018 by the official guidelines approved by the Regions-Health Care Sector Committee on 9th July and 29th August 2019.
- A 50% tax credit has been introduced for costs incurred to sanitise workplaces, with a cap on this benefit at € 20 thousand. A similar tax credit has also been introduced for expenses relating to the purchase of personal protective equipment (such as surgical masks, Ffp2 and Ffp3 masks, gloves, protective visors and protective glasses, protective suits and shoes), or the purchase and installation of other safety devices designed to protect workers from accidental exposure to biological agents or to ensure safety distances are maintained between people (such as barriers and protective panels). Hand cleansers and disinfectants are also included.