Walter Mazzucco, Giuseppe Lanza, Valerio Gaglio, Gianluca Albanese, Oriana Amata, Calogero Casà, Davide Ferorelli,Giorgio Sessa, Emanuele Spina, Andrea Silenzi, Claudia Marotta
An increasing need for healthcare workers has been estimated worldwide. To provide a comprehensive framework of the medical workforce in Italy, we investigated the post-lauream medical workforce training supply and demand. Further, a comparison of the medical workforce between Italy and other European Countries with a similar epidemiological and/or demographic context was performed. The distribution of pre- and post-lauream medical educational providers and post-lauream resources in place in Italy was analyzed among Italian macro-areas in the academic years 2015-2016, 2016-2017 and 2017-2018. Italy and the European countries in study were compared in term of post-lauream funding and number of active physicians by specialization per 1,000 inhabitants. Open access data from official Italian and European institutional sources were used. The most of medical schools were distributed in the North, followed by South, islands and Central Italy, while the highest enrolment rate in the pre-lauream medical education was reported in Central Italy, followed by South & islands and North. The total number of active residency programs increased from 1092 to 1286 in the three considered academic years, while number of post-lauream training contracts decreased from 11.0 to 10.2 per 100,000 inhabitants. A misalignment between contracts assigned to residency programs and grants assigned to general practitioners specific courses was observed. When compared to the EU countries in study, Italy documented the lowest number of post-graduated training positions in 2015, with a rate of 12.1/100,000 inhabitants. Also, an excess of medical specialists (3.06 per 1,000 inhabitants) with a simultaneous shortage of general practitioners (0.89 per 1,000 inhabitants) was reported. On the contrary, Italy documented the highest number of paediatric practitioners. More efforts, including the implementation of adequate tools, are required both at national and regional level in order to provide a medical workforce planning in line with a continuously changing health context.