Ghost Villages (5/5): Social and Medical Services, focus on the elderly

If Sardinian authorities centralise everything in three of four cities for the entire island, it would make life even harder for those who would like to remain in the rural communities dotted around,specifically inland.

Previously I mentioned technology as an instrument to bring services into people’s houses and make them accessible using a PC or even a smartphone, which is really important when considering bureaucratic affairs but also the health service. A non emergency helpline, chat service and extensive websites with information in Italian, Sardinian and English on different medical symptoms and first stance remedies could be of great help for the local population as a first step to take before going to the GP or a medical centre in a bigger municipality. The British NHS is a good example that offers this high standard digital/remote service. Obviously many of the elderly would not be able to navigate the system, so to complement the digital portal there should be a hotline where nurses provide initial screening and arrange for the local GP to call them and possibly book an appointment or arrange further care plans.

Another very good thing that Sardinia could learn from the NHS is the way in which Scotland distributes resources on providing localised healthcare. For some aspects parallels can be drawn between Scotland and Sardinia, both in terms of economy, historically agricultural and farming of sheep especially; victims of a failed industrial plan; trying to invest resources in tourism and services; remote communities which are difficult to access; an ageing population. Also historically they are ironically connected as the king of Scotland became king of a united Britain in the same way as the king of Sardinia became king of a united Italy nearly 300 years later.

The strong families and the admirable culture of caring for the elderly within the ‘clan’ (the network extended family plus close friends) allowed the health system to sort of take advantage of the spirit of solidarity found in these rural communities and never really developed a system designed for them.

An improved series of social services and a medical system need to be obviously accompanied by an improved public transport network, as elderly people should not be forced to drive when they do not feel comfortable in doing so and it is also dangerous for some as the golden years have slow reflexes which is not ideal for driving down country lanes.The alternative to driving would be relying on a relative to take you to the bigger centre but why should one have to do that?

With the amount of tax the average Italian citizen pays, it is outstanding to see how public services are lacking. Perhaps government believe there should be a relation tax- in order for Italy to provide a similar standard to Scandinavia or at least Britain, but this is clearly not the case.

More information about ghost villages in Sardinia and Campus Omodeo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *