Non-medical postgraduates, the latest: ‘We are also exploited, but we are not being paid’

Marco Emily, 26, is in his second year of residency in pathology and clinical biochemistry at Tor Vergata University Hospital.

Marco holds a university degree in biology and has chosen to direct his studies to medical diagnostics. Then, after obtaining his master’s degree, he participated in a general competition for access to the specialty of the health field, which consists of four years of study and work in Italian hospitals to learn the necessary skills in microbiology, medical genetics or clinical pathology and biochemistry. He also founded a group on Facebook, B as a biologistWho in the months of Covid raised her voice to tell the level of Exploitation of students in hospital laboratories, recklessly at the task of handling swabs and other tests. They were hoping for a scholarship in the previous Budget Act, “but in the end we were told there was no money for us. So they keep working for free,” Emily says.


“I am being treated by a psychiatrist for a lot of work: we trainees have to sacrifice our lives for the department”

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70 percent of training credits for a specialty must be accrued through training and practice: this means at least 34 hours of hospital work each week, which is more than 1,500 hours per year. Exactly as required of medical and surgical students. but the former They earn nothingThe latter receives a scholarship of 1,650 euros per month. “Many of the courses and practical activities are carried out together with the specialist doctors. But they get paid and we don’t. In addition, we have no holidays, no permits and we are required to pass an e badge They threaten us not to let us get into the major if we don’t reach the total number of hours. We work in shifts and often replace assigned employees,” the intern continues.


As a resident, I work 80 hours a week in the hospital. I can’t take it anymore, I give up everything”

Gloria Riva

Lucrezia Galasso, also a non-medical resident, writes to Espresso: “I read your article on medical professionals and exploitation. The Italian health system is a sieve and it is the trainees who are taking the hit in this sea of ​​disaster. But my bitterness increases when I see, for a thousand times, non-medical specialists, biologists, chemists, and pharmacists working for 4 years in graduate studies with the same hours as their medical colleagues but without any kind of salary, unmentioned.”


Italian healthcare depends on medical professionals: the young and the exploited, many of whom are now abandoning them

Gloria Riva

She says to herself, “I’m a biologist, with BA and MA degrees, and now I’m about to finish my last four years of study specializing in clinical pathology. I spent four years working Monday through Saturday for 10 straight hours a day, getting no pay. However, the title is necessary to operate in the national health system. I wonder why despite two years of a pandemic where all of us are now familiar with swabs, no one doubts who works in the labs. Who analyzes the biopsy, who does the genetic mapping, and who estimates whether or not I will develop a blood clot or an autoimmune disease? Who is there to analyze my molecular smear? Mostly we are trainees! 70 per cent of diagnoses are based on laboratory data, with the NHS weighing 2 per cent on budget. The costs are also contained thanks to my class who pays university fees, works a lot on her own and without any kind of training and without any kind of salary or scholarship.”

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