The number of hospital employees in Italy amounts to approximately 625 thousand, a figure that has also been decreasing in recent years. The majority of individuals employed in hospitals are nurses and midwives. Physicians represent 20 percent of total hospital employees, and the most widespread fields of specialization among them appear to be anesthesiology and resuscitation.
The number of discharges from hospitals has decreased by nearly one-third in recent years. Similarly, the annual number of bed days spent in hospitals has been dropping year-on-year. One of the reasons might be that most Italians appear to be generally healthy. On the other hand, however, some citizens also report difficulties in accessing healthcare services, for example, due to long waiting times for examinations and specialist consultations.
Hospitalization rates vary significantly across Italy, partly because some citizens choose to travel within the country to access what they deem to be the best healthcare service. The healthcare system in Italy is regionally-based: while the central government sets the fundamental principles and standards, regions manage the resources and provide healthcare services.