Government Health Officials Should Be Chosen Based On Merit, Not Political Connections, Former Italian Official Writes In Opinion Piece
Health Policy Watch: Health Is A Political Choice — But Should Health Officials Be Politicians Or Professionals?
Armando Bartolazzi, Italy’s former undersecretary of state for health
“…There is a long tradition in Italy of politicians appointing key health officials for the National Health System (NHS). However, I was part of an initiative in 2018 to change that system and ensure that key appointments in the health system were based on technical experience and merit, rather than political connections. Now, that initiative may be reversed by the new Health Minister, Roberto Speranza — to the detriment of the Italian public as well Italy’s image in international health leadership. … As a health professional myself, I doubt that the decision taken by the new minister is the best line of action for the interest of patients and the public-at-large. Italy’s NHS needs good managers, strong leaders in the global arena, and undisputed focus on the best interests of the whole community that it is supposed to serve” (11/19).