Sovereigns under Siege. How the medical profession is changing in Italy.

Abstract

In this article, the concept of medical dominance is "unfolded" into four different components: 1) professional autonomy; 2) superiority over other healthcare professions; 3) influence on policy makers; 4) authority with respect to patients. These four components will serve to bring to surface the transformations which the medical profession in Italy is currently undergoing. Special emphasis is placed on the challenges that Italian physicians are facing and the strategies they are adopting to try to maintain their dominant position. Coming to conclusions, Italian physicians seem to retain their supremacy over other healthcare professions, and are particularly adept at controlling the legislative process on healthcare issues. Conversely, Italian physicians are losing their influence on patients (as evidenced by the growing number of allegations of malpractice) and complain that their professional autonomy is diminishing and their work has become far too bureaucratized.

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