The Family Doc, the paid family doctor, arrives in Veneto

The world of medicine is changing. A revolution that is making many people turn up their noses, to say the least. Veneto opens its doors to Family Doc, which effectively shakes the foundations of Italian healthcare. The sector turns its gaze to private general practitioner, which represents a further piece in the picture, alarming for many, which has already seen the taboo of private professionals in hospital departments and emergency rooms broken down.

Within private structures, a service similar to that of a doctor in agreement with the National Health System will therefore be offered. The advantage is given by reduced waiting times, minimal bureaucratic complications and, in general, easier access to the service. All for a fee. Not a service removed from the majority of citizens, of course, but the authorization for the development of one series A and series B healthcare.

Private family doctor

Everything is taking place in Mestrino, in province of Paduawhere it is a pioneer in this new market area BMed Group, a private health center that has been active in the area for seven years. The service, as mentioned, bears the name of Family Doc, and is currently active. A few weeks have passed since the launch and the interest seems notable.

He thought about commenting on everything Christina Sinigaglia, president of the group, who wanted to shed light on the philosophy that distinguishes this initiative: “Many of our customers do not have a family doctor. Just think of non-EU citizens or foreigners residing in the province. Others, however, complain of not being able to access general medical services.”

All this highlights the difficulty, if not impossibility, of GPs in ensuring rapid access to all their patients, he explained. The increase in dissatisfied users has therefore generated this market branch. A precise analysis and an economically valid perspective, for sure. What is worrying, however, is that the private alternative may over time represent the only way forward of those who need faster times, for matters of pressing necessity. An American-style system, so to speak, which seems to be in contrast with what has always been professed in Europe.

How much does the service cost

The alternative to the family doctor is therefore in the private sector. Visits by appointment without the slightest wait, as well as short times for receiving treatments. What most interests users, however, is the cost, understandably. The private center has obtained an internal medicine authorization, for an average cost of 50 euros per visit.

The differences compared to the comparison with the classic family doctor are not perceptible, apart from the fee. It ranges from the visit itself to prescription of medicinesuntil’referral to specialist visits. All for a sum that is lower than that of a specialist visit.

There is fear, however, of facilitating a complex monetization system, which in some situations could also push “new family doctors” to direct them towards other services offered by the same structure. At the same time, there is a risk of seeing GPs disappear, as more attractive alternatives in the private sector are considered.

Faced with the prospect of understandable controversy, Dr. Sinigaglia explained: “There is no desire to overtake the public. The National Health System remains the reference and we grow following lines that are dictated to us.”