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Services provided by the Italian national health service


Essential Levels of Assistance (Essential Levels of Assistance , LEA)
Essential Levels of Assistance (hereinafter LEAs, widely used acronym of the Italian Livelli essenziali di assistenza) are the services that the Italian National Health Service (INHS) is required to provide to all citizens, free of charge or upon payment of a fee (ticket), by using public resources collected through general taxation (taxes).
The services that the INHS must provide and cover are divided into three categories:

  • Collective prevention,which includes all prevention activities aimed at communities and individuals (vaccines, screening, food safety, etc. ...);
  • District assistance,the health and social-health activities and services spread throughout the territory (primary health care, pharmaceutical, prosthetic, thermal care, etc. ...);
  • Hospital assistance,which includes first aid, ordinary hospitalization for acute cases, day hospital, day surgery, day service).

On 12 January 2017, a new Decree on LEAs (Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers, DPCM) was approved which:

  • defines and updates the activities, services and benefits guaranteed to citizens with the public resources made available by the National Health Service;
  • describes in greater detail and precision the services and activities already included in the LEAs;
  • redefines and updates the lists of rare diseases and chronic and disabling diseases that qualify for exemption;
  • innovates the nomenclatures of outpatient specialist and prosthetic assistance, introducing technologically advanced services and excluding obsolete services. The Regions, as they have done up to now, will be able to guarantee additional services and benefits to those included in the LEA, using their own resources. 

         Ministry of Health

Dental care

These national provisions provide that the dental care paid by the INHS is limited to programs for the protection of dental health in the developmental age (0-14 years) to certain categories of subjects in particularly vulnerable conditions.

All citizens, including those who do not fall within the indicated protection categories, must in any case be guaranteed the services listed in Annex 4 of the Prime Ministerial Decree of 12 January 2017 which is associated with the condition of "general public" availability and, in particular, the dental visit and the immediate treatment of odontostomatological emergencies (with direct access) for the treatment of acute infections, bleeding, acute pain.



Vaccinations are among the most effective preventive interventions available to public health, allowing to prevent effectively and safely serious diseases, which can cause major complications, disability or death.
By consulting the vaccination schedule, you can learn on all the compulsory and recommended vaccinations divided by age groups and risk categories.

Per approfondimenti: VACCINI
Ministry of Health - Vaccination calendar

Screening tests are administered to a more or less wide range of the population to identify a disease before it manifests itself with symptoms. Identifying the pathology at an early stage allows for greater possibilities of treatment and recovery. The screening for colorectal cancer, breast cancer, cancer of the cervix are among the most common.
Ministry of Health - Screening


Primary health care

Thanks to the involvement of its healthcare services and the accredited primary care provider (PCP) and paediatricians, the Italian National Health Service provides the outpatient and home healthcare management of acute and chronic diseases according to best practice and in agreement with the patient, including interventions and actions for the promotion and global protection of health.
Ministry of Health – Basic health care

Supplementary assistance
Supplementary assistance includes the provision to specific categories of patients of:

  • medical devices (including aids for people suffering from diabetes or certain rare diseases and disposable medical devices);
  • particular foods (such as gluten-free products for celiac people or products for specific categories of patients). 

           Ministry of Health – Supplementary assistance

Outpatient specialist assistance
Specialist outpatient assistance is made up of the set of diagnostic and therapeutic services provided by specialist doctors in public or private outpatient clinics and territorial laboratories or hospitals 

It is divided into:

Prosthetic care
The National Health Service provides to persons recognized as disabled, or awaiting recognition of disability, health services that involve the provision of prostheses, orthoses and technological aids for the prevention, correction or compensation of functional impairments or disabilities resulting from pathologies or injuries, the enhancement of residual skills as well as the promotion of the autonomy of the patient.

Thermal Care
Spa assistance is provided by the NHS as part of the essential levels of assistance (LEA) to citizens suffering from certain diseases who can derive "effective benefit" from this type of treatment.

Residential and semi-residential social and health assistance (Chapter IV - Art. 21-35)
The Italian National Health Service offers to non self-sufficient people suffering from chronic diseases or in frail conditions - who do not have the possibility to be treated at home - , the opportunity to live in non-hospital residential structures that offer them all the assistance they need
Ministry of Health – Social and health assistance


The level of hospital assistance is divided into 8 areas of activity:

1. First aid;
2. Ordinary hospitalization for acute cases;
3. Day surgery;
4. Day hospital;
5. Rehabilitation and post-acute long-term hospitalization;
6. Transfusion activities;
7. Cell, organ and tissue transplant activity;
8. Poison Control Centers (CAV).
Ministry of Health - Hospital Assistance

Day surgery
Day surgery, or "one-day surgery", represents the clinical-organizational modality for carrying out surgical interventions or invasive diagnostic and/or therapeutic procedures, in a hospitalization regime limited to the hours of the day only, under general, loco-regional or local. This allows for an early return to one's family environment, minimizing the discomfort generated by hospitalization.

Day hospital
The day hospital (DH) or day hospitalization is a form of assistance provided by the Italian National Health Service, which allows the patient to benefit from hospital care during one or more scheduled hospitalizations (all lasting less than one day and without overnight stay) for carrying out diagnostic tests, specialist visits and therapies.

Day Service
The outpatient day service is an innovative method of assistance, included in the territorial level of specialist outpatient services. It is aimed at patients suffering from pathologies that require often numerous clinical and instrumental investigations and pertaining to different, even complex, disciplines. The patient is facilitated in accessing the services as it is the same supplying structure that manages the reservations, reducing the number of accesses to the user.

Rehabilitation and post-acute long-term care
Rehabilitation is a process in which a person with disabilities is brought to reach the best possible level of autonomy on a physical, functional, social, intellectual and relational level, with the least restriction of their operational choices, though within the limits of their impairment.
The rehabilitation activity can be provided in:
• hospitalization regime, ordinary or day (day hospital);
• regimen of specialist outpatient assistance/day service at physical medicine and rehabilitation clinics;
• area of ​​home, outpatient, semi-residential or residential territorial assistance.

Transfusion activities
Blood transfusions can be life-saving therapy in some cases. The Prime Ministerial Decree of 12 January 2017 on the new LEA deals with transfusion activities in Article 47 establishing that:
• the National Health Service (SSN) guarantees the services and benefits identified by Law 219/2005 (article 5).
• the SSN also guarantees the research and retrieval of hematopoietic stem cells from national and foreign registers and banks.
Ministry of Health - Transfusion activities
Transplantation of cells, organs and tissues
Transplantation is a surgical intervention which consists in the replacement of a diseased organ or tissue, therefore no longer functioning, with a healthy one of the same type coming from another individual who is called a donor. The Prime Ministerial Decree of 12 January 2017 deals with the activity of transplantation of cells, organs and tissues in art. 48

Poison Control Centers
The Poison Control Centers are included in the new LEA of the NHS among the hospital assistance activities guaranteed to the citizen. They deal with the treatment of intoxications: everyone (children, adults, males, females) and in all situations (at work, at home, outdoors) is exposed to this risk. The CAVs guarantee an essential service both as regards the study of the various causes of poisoning and the related manifestations and aim to structure adequate treatment and, as far as possible, prevention measures.


Open the complete PDF of the resolution.

DPCM of 12 January 2017 - Go to the Ministry of Health page 


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