Italy has commenced rehiring retired doctors to help meet a shortfall of physicians, according to a new report in the Lancet.
It comes as a recent report by Anaao Assomed, a trade union for doctors in Italy, predicted that 50 per cent of physicians will retire before 2025, leaving a shortage of almost 17,000 doctors.
Carlo Palermo, the president of Anaao Assomed told the Lancet the shortage can be mainly traced back to poor planning for specialisation grants. While 10,000 medical degrees are awarded each year, only 7,000 fellowships are awarded, meaning many young doctors cannot access the job market.
Within the past few weeks, recruitment of retired doctors has commenced in five of 20 regions in Italy. However, according to the report, it has been criticised by both physicians and health advocates alike, with some voicing concern over the physical toll of the work on retirees.
A number of alternatives to address the shortages have been suggested including implementing task shifting, with some duties taken over by nurses and paramedics. It is understood from this year, doctors in training who are in their last year of specialisation will be allowed to compete for open job positions.