The alarm launched today by the president of the Italian trade union Nursing Up, Antonio de Palma, is not new in absolute terms for the border areas. But tones and numbers now seem to mark a dangerously close level of guard, if not already well exceeded. The theme is the escape of the nurses. and more generally of health workers, from the border provinces (Como, Lecco and Varese in particular) to Switzerland.
In 2021 alone, according to data provided by the Larian territorial social health association (ASST), 283 employees voluntarily abandoned the profession, according to the note from the specialized trade union. Of these, more than a hundred have crossed the border and in recent months have chosen to become frontier workers, to work on a permanent basis in Swiss healthcare. In the last two years, over 150 people, including employees of public health, in the provinces of Como and Lecco, have dismissed and became employed in the Swiss Confederation “.
In the social and health sector of Ticino, which employs a total of almost 16 thousand employees, 4,300 are cross-border commuters. Of these, 70% are Italians (mostly from Lombardy).
“But if on the one hand – begins Antonio De Palma, National President of Nursing Up – we are not surprised what happens in a territory like Lombardy, which has paid more than all, since the beginning, the price of the health emergency, is It is natural to ask ourselves what are, even today, the so abysmal differences that push so many health workers to voluntarily leave our public and private facilities, to decide to travel every day to neighboring Switzerland, which at this point, despite its problems, at least compared to Italy, it represents a real happy island. Being a frontier worker, despite the stress of daily travel – continues De Palma – allows our nurses to avoid suffering the heavy cost of daily life in Switzerland ”.
Then there is the subject of the salary: that of a professional nurse, with a few years of experience behind him, in a hospital in Ticino, is around 5,200 gross Swiss francs, or just over 5,060 euros gross (a these we have to remove the taxes that in Switzerland are not a trivial matter).
According to the union’s accounts, therefore, if an Italian nurse moved to Switzerland on a permanent basis today, he would have about 3,500 clean euros left each month to live, having to pay for accommodation (which is not cheap), which all in all, respect to the 1400/1500 euro net Italian average salary (but with a rent still to be paid every month), it would already amply justify the reasons for a change of life.
As if this were not enough, the border nurse, beyond the travel expenses, acquired at least 15 years of service, can reach over 9,000 Swiss francs (8,760 euros), from which taxes must always be deducted.
“In short – continues De Palma – only really decent salaries, which today are still a sad chimera, in a system with a shortage of 80-85 thousand health workers, would allow to stem the more than justified flight to countries like Germany, England, Luxembourg, Switzerland itself. We remind the President of the Regions-Healthcare Sector Committee, Dr. Caparini, comments De Palma, of the commitment made during the talks with our delegation a few weeks ago, and therefore of all support for the adoption of a guideline that allows the ” use of the additional resources allocated by the law, for a real enhancement of nurses and health professions. In this sense, it is not necessary to remember that, without this now urgent act, it will not be possible to proceed with the definitive closure of the negotiations in progress “.