HOW TO KNOW THE WAITING TIMES
The waiting time states the number of days that elapses between the booking date and the date of provision of health services. At the moment of the prescription, the doctor is required to indicate the diagnostic criticality (which describes the health problem) and the priority category (which defines the access times to health services).
In February 2019, the latest National Waiting List Government Plan (PNGLA) 2019-2021 was approved which defines the priorities and maximum times for the provision of tests, specialist visits, hospital admissions and surgical interventions by the Health Service . to know more visit the dedicated page of the website of the Ministry of Health.
It should be underlined that Regions, through their government plans about waiting lists, can reduce the maximum waiting times which are expected at national level.
For specialized outpatient services, there are four time priorities, identified by the letters U, B, D and P. The doctor will fill in the prescription and indicate in the field "service priority" the letter corresponding to the urgency of the service:
•letter U: "urgent" services to which the user is entitled within 72 hours. In these cases, the prescription will have affixed the "green dot". Attention: urgent services must be booked within 48 hours from the prescription date, otherwise the urgency indication will expire.
•letter B: service to be provided in a "short time”no more than 10 days It should be used in situations where it is necessary to intervene quickly to avoid the worsening the patient's condition.
•letter D: "deferrable" services which, if provided in less rapid times, do not jeopardize the patient's health. These are initial diagnosis services, to be provided within 30 or 60 days (depending on if they represent visits or instrumental diagnostic examinations).
•letter P:“scheduled” visits and examinations, not urgent. This is the case of follow-up visits, according to which the process establishes a maximum of 120 days.
In the case of services provided in hospitalization regime the priority categories are different:
• A - Recovery within 30 days, for cases that can rapidly worsen and seriously may affect the patient's health.
• B - Recovery within 60 days, for cases with intense pain or severe dysfunction, or severe disability but which do not tend to worsen rapidly in becoming emergencies.
• C - Recovery within 180 days, for cases with minimal pain, dysfunction or disability, and which do not tend to worsen.
• D - Recovery within 12 months, for cases without pain, dysfunction or disability.
The waiting times concerning visits and examinations provided according to the institutional or freelance (ALPI) regime, can be read in a dedicated section in healthcare facilities websites.