Cutting doctors’ pensions: Government ready to turn around

The incidence of public spending on healthcare on GDP is

(Finance) – On the provision included in the Budget Law which should cut the pensions of doctors and state workers, the Government is ready to do an about-face. After the controversy raised and the announcement by doctors of a 24-hour national strike, iThe government decides to review the rule on the cut to doctors’ pensions foreseen by the budget. The cut, which involves 732 thousand public employees, who have said they are ready to protest on December 5th, will therefore be reviewed. This was announced yesterday by both the Minister of Health Schillaci and his colleague in charge of Relations with Parliament Ciriani.

What is most feared is the flight of public employees, with possible repercussions on waiting lists and wards, but also for the PNRR procedures opened in local authorities. An additional investigation was therefore decided on the dossier. “We are working and further checks are underway to find possible solutions with a view to an overall intervention”, declared the Minister of Relations with Parliament Luca Ciriani. “There is every intention and interest in trying to review the rule”, he also assured Minister of Health Orazio Schillaci. While, the Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies, Claudio Durigon, underlined “an incongruity that risks being unconstitutional”, adding that the government is working and that when “the law is ready we will share it. From the ongoing assessments it is clear that we must intervene because objectively the situation could encourage leaks and this it could cause damage in strategic sectors such as healthcare and local authorities given the commitment to the Pnrr”, concludes the undersecretary. By
The 24-hour general strike was called by the unions Anaao and Cimo who underline the weight of the measure to cut the social security check between 5% and 25% per year, “a blow that affects around 50,000 employees. And we are not reassured – they say – by the statements released in recent days by representatives of the Government regarding possible partial changes to the provision”. “The maneuver is disappointing for us as professionals, the years of a syndemic have taught us nothing. We invest in the professional, 4 thousand doctors who are managers of the NHS have left in 2023. There is a perfect storm that will empty the hospitals, there it is a social problem because universality of care no longer exists. We ask for the withdrawal of the rule on cutting doctors’ pensions”, he continues Pierino Di Silverio, national secretary of Anaao-Assomed.

The unions continue to express their disappointment on the measures contained in the budget law being discussed in the Senate, as “from the maneuver we would have expected an intervention on the medical and healthcare specific allowance, an even partial release of the ceiling on spending for the healthcare personnel and an extraordinary hiring plan, adequate resources for the renewal of contracts. And instead we discover that the expected 2.3 billion are made available for the entire healthcare sector, therefore crumbs for everyone“.

To the two associations, it is added the Inter-union of medical, veterinary and healthcare managers of the NHS, which in the name of the 135 thousand white coats and veterinarians it represents, asks to modify the budget law. The manoeuvre, in the organisation’s opinion, “reduces the value of the National Health Fund compared to the GDP trend forecasts. In fact, the 3 billion of additional financing are completely absorbed both by the resources necessary for the renewal of the contracts for the three-year period 2022/ 2024, which are also underfunded compared to the inflation recorded in the three-year period”. An unconstitutional provision “with which the government intends to raise funds with an asset that only affects public employees who from heroes are now transformed into ATMs” and “with this line the Government encourages public employees to flee from work, encourages the profit of cooperatives and token doctors”.

From the National Federation of Orders of Surgeons and Dentists (Fnomceo) comes both an appreciation for the Government’s commitment to increasing the funds allocated to the National Health Service, to reducing waiting lists, to counteract the shortage of personnel, recognizing that “the funds allocated for the renewal of the employment contracts of the healthcare personnel, employees and those under contract are a first step towards reversing a trend which has so far seen healthcare investments allocated, through the Pnrr, mainly to the structures and infrastructures of the National Health Service”. However, through the national secretary, Roberto Monaco, reiterates that “if the law is not canceled there will be the abandonment of hospital doctors, of whom 6,000 have already met the requirements for pensions and who have decided to stay, with consequences on the waiting lists. We expect the government, in the maxi-amendment who announced, abolish the rule and relaunch the National Health Service”.

“If the rule on pensions envisaged in the budget is not changed, we will not only be able to implement the Pnrr, but not even to ensure primary healthcare for our citizens”, he says Barbara Mangiacavalli, president of the National Federation of Nursing Professions (Fnopi)who continues “We estimated that the rule on pensions would lead to a cut of around 300 euros per month: it would be a very serious mistake given that a worker after 40 years of activity already receives a pension of 1,400 euros. Thus he risks receiving 1,100, These days we hear about the restoration of doctors’ pensions, but there are also other professions, nurses and public employees: there are around 280 thousand within the National Health Service”

The cuts were introduced by the government to try to raise cash and invest the resources obtained on other aspects of the same social security issue, therefore, at this point a problem remains: that of finding economic coverage. It is no secret, in fact, that the cuts were introduced by the government to try to raise cash and invest the resources obtained on other aspects of the same social security issue.

(Photo: © Vittaya Sinlapasart/ 123RF)