Pope Francis pleaded with a group of Italian physicians to defend the country’s national health service, saying that the Italian constitution was correct when it declared health a human right.
And he also insisted that compassion is “an irreplaceable diagnostic tool” in treating their patients. Pope Francis met with members of the Italian Federation of Pediatric Physicians and the Association of Italian Hospital Otolaryngologists on 18th November.
Calling physicians “one of the pillars of the country” and praising the self-giving dedication of medical professions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the pope noted how the Italian health system is now struggling. “There is a constant shortage of personnel, leading to unmanageable workloads and the consequent flight from the health professions,” he said.
“And the continuing economic crisis affects the quality of life of patients and doctors: how many early diagnoses are not made? How many people give up on treatment? How many doctors and nurses, disheartened and tired, abandon their profession or prefer to go and work abroad?”
The weakening of the health-care system is undermining the “right to health that is part of the heritage of the social doctrine of the church and is enshrined in the Italian constitution,” the pope said. “Health is a common good.”
Picture: Pope Francis greets people at the end of a meeting with to members of the Italian Federation of Pediatric Physicians and the Association of Italian Hospital Otolaryngologists in the Vatican audience hall, 18th November 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)