Italy is a beautiful country that attracts tourists from all over the globe. Italy boasts of a great historical past, and its cultural heritage and landscapes captivate both visitors and locals alike. This is where Renaissance was born, and romance is all over the city. Whether touring Rome, Florence, Venice, or any other city, you can always have a great experience in Italy.
However, your health is worth considering, and it’s best to understand how the healthcare system works. Italy healthcare system is ranked highly worldwide due to its high quality, equity, and universal access. It has many facets, though, and there are diverse healthcare systems in the country.
Here are key things to know about Italy’s healthcare system:
1. Italy offers universal access to healthcare
Both locals and non-citizens can easily access healthcare in Italy. The country has a nationalized care system; some services are free, while others come at a relatively low cost. Once you register for the National Health Service, you pay for medical services and medications depending on your income bracket.
Also, you choose a general practitioner who will offer essential services like checkups, prescriptions, and referrals for specialist treatment. There’s a limit to how many patients a GP can take, and the most reputed doctors have a long waiting list. You can choose a doctor deepening on their practice and can change to another physician when necessary.
2. It may take time to get checked.
All general practitioners work on a first-come, first-serve basis. You may have to wait for some time before getting checked. However, when you get used to the doctor, you can call and schedule an appointment for repeat visits. Again, some doctors share the same space, but all have varying schedules for patient appointments.
3. Referral is mandatory for specialized checkups.
Your general practitioner is the gatekeeper to specialized services. No matter your health issue, you have to visit one to get an appointment for a specialist. In some districts, you may wait for long to get specialized treatment. But, you can always opt for a private specialist, and you don’t need a referral for this. You only need to pay for the services out of pocket.
4. Emergency care is a right
The most exciting bit about Italian healthcare is emergency services. Emergency care is a right and is accessible by anyone, whether registered in the national system or not. If you’re a foreigner, you can access emergency medical services for free or at a meager cost.
For locals, you only need to show your health card upon admittance. But, you’re required to show your identification documents if you’re a foreigner.
5. The national health service covers most medications.
You’ll get most medications and prescriptions drugs for free under the national health service. Others are low-cost and affordable and are charged depending on your income bracket. You must get all the medications at the pharmacy and should present a prescription before refills.
However, if you have a prescription from a specialist, you should take this to your general practitioner, who gives you an official note to present to the pharmacy. In some pharmacies, you’ll get a computer terminal that you can use to book an appointment with a specialist.
6. The choice of international doctors& hospitals is endless.
There are both public and private health facilities in Italy. All offer quality healthcare services, but most foreigners prefer private doctors. If you have health insurance from another country, you can use it to pay for services in private Italy hospitals. This helps avoid long queues and delays in public hospitals.
Also, you can choose your preferred physician in a private hospital, unlike in public clinics. You’ll get most of the best private hospitals in northern and central Italy, and there are also a few highly reputed university hospitals in the country.
7. It’s easy to access care.
There’s a co-existence of both public and private hospitals in Italy, and accessing care shouldn’t be an issue. Gatekeeper physicians offer citizens access to specialized care. There are also telecardiological programs providing home care services and linking to different hospitals.
8. Most Italian health facilities have embraced technology.
The role of IT in the Italian health sector is worth mentioning. It offers promising opportunities for doctors and facilitates consultation among medical practitioners and patients in the county. There are many teleconsulting and telecardiological programs in Italy, thanks to technology.
An electronic health care card was launched in the country in 2005 and played a significant role in monitoring public health expenditure. It also contains vital medical and health insurance information.
In summary Italy provides universal health coverage to both locals and foreigners. It boasts of many public and private health facilities that are accessible at an affordable fee. There are many hospitals for expatriates in big cities like Rome, Milan, and Naples. As a foreigner, you can choose to enjoy