Legance and Antigone together with MSD Italia for the protection of health of foreign people or migrants

Press release

Produced a guide to exercising the right to health care in Italy. A vademecum, with practical references to the main provisions at national level, for use by social and health care workers.

Rome, 16th July  2020 – Legance – Avvocati Associati and Associazione Antigone in collaboration with the Legal & Compliance Department of MSD Italia produced a “A Short guide to exercising the Right to Health Care in Italy”.

The Guide, which will be distributed to the organisations, legal information points operating in prisons and through the network of Trustees for the rights of prisoners, aims to offer concrete help to foreign people who find themselves having to manage the administrative-legal problems of access to care once they have arrived in Italy, as well as to people detained in national prisons or released from them, with particular regard to foreign people.

It is a valid support to help untangle oneself in complex legislation, providing essential information on rights, duties and activities to be carried out for the purpose of using public health care, depending on the specific personal situation.

The Italian Constitution recognises the right to health by defining it as a fundamental right of the individual: “The Republic protects health as a fundamental right of the individual and interest of the community, and guarantees free treatment to the disadvantaged.” (Constitution – Article 32, paragraph 1).

In our country therefore, the protection of health is guaranteed to all individuals, not only Italian citizens, as an inviolable right and the State assumes the fundamental duty to exercise this protection. In fact, everyone must be assured urgent care, i.e. care that cannot be postponed without danger to life or damage to the health of the person, and essential care, i.e. health services related to pathologies that are not dangerous in the immediate and short term, but that over time could cause greater damage to health or danger to life.

However, although the legislation aims to guarantee the right to health for all, there may be legal, communicative, interpretative or bureaucratic barriers to access the socio-sanitary circuits which in some cases, are intensified by the socio-economic conditions of the person: it is therefore extremely important to provide supportive information that is easy to use by the most vulnerable sections of the population and for workers who find themselves interacting with them on the protection of health front.

With this is mind, the Guide contains references to the main provisions at a national level, necessary for workers and those who interact with foreign people regarding the protection of health and access to social and health services, as well as to the immigrant person who has the linguistic knowledge to consult them and, more generally, to anyone who wishes to deepen their knowledge of health legislation relating to the assistance of foreign people.

It’s a social responsibility project – comments Cecilia Carrara, Partner at Legance – which is followed with commitment and passion by our team of professionals, together with Antigone and MSD Italia: an important example of how we can network to promote the culture of legality and the knowledge of us all about our fundamental rights in a sector as delicate as the right to health”.

The Covid-19 pandemic that has also affected our country – says Patrizio Gonnella, president of Associazione Antigone – has made it clear how much the protection of public health is a value of primary importance, to be protected and guaranteed. Therefore, through this guide, we want to offer a series of tools and useful indications to be used by foreign citizens and social-health workers who may have to intervene to protect these citizens. Spreading the knowledge of fundamental rights is an objective of absolute importance that we hope to have facilitated with this guide.

We are proud to have taken part in the realisation of this important project – says Ida Marotta, Legal & Compliance Executive Director at MSD Italia – which is the result of a virtuous partnership, testament of our way of working that has always favoured the network, the network among all the players of the challenge that we face each day to be able to guarantee more health to People and Society. Our Mission is to take care of People: we do this through our research to bring treatment where there is disease and prevention where there is still health, but we also do so by implementing a number of social responsibility initiatives, such as this Guide to the Right to Health Care, which can bring real benefits to individual People and generate value for our main stakeholders”.