Cosenza, the “revolution” started in the lanes of the Annunziata: manager de Salazar speaks


By John

A slow but decisive “revolution”. It is the one started in the hospital by Vitaliano de Salazar, a manager sent by the health commissioner Roberto Occhiuto to put a half-sunken ship back on track.
With long administrative experience behind him and the attitude and determination of a general, de Salazar struggled quite a bit to put the “vessel” destined for shipwreck back on the waterline. A “vessel” stranded among the rocks of inefficiency, political interference, consolidated positions of power and the inevitable patronage practices.
An uncomfortable role played by the manager of Calabrian origin and resident in Rome. That's why we decided to ask him some questions.

De Salazar, let's start from the Annunziata emergency room, the “cross” of Bruzia public health: will anything change and when?

«The new premises will be ready by July and it will mean being able to enjoy more space. Seven different clinics will be activated, a better welcome will be guaranteed to patients and the healthcare team will have its constant point of reference in the new head doctor Domenico Lorenzo Urso. This is a doctor who has gained experience outside our region holding significant positions. A professional figure will be dedicated to the relatives of the patients to give information and guidance, while the support of a psychologist will be ensured for women victims of gender violence. The department will also be equipped with a multipurpose facility, meaning that the internal transport of patients for x-rays and MRIs will end. In short, we will move according to European standards and it is no small consideration what the emergency room was before.”

One of the major problems of the garrison is related to the lack of staff: shall we stick to the proclamations or will you actually hire?

«Of course, the hiring plan provides for significant numbers in terms of reinforcements: 50 nurses and the same number of doctors will be hired, plus 10 social and health workers. The real objective is to increasingly reduce healthcare migration and this is why the synergy with the University of Calabria and the degree course in Medicine has also allowed us to have university professors in various sectors. Important figures to whom we hope others will be added.”

The rector of the university, Nicola Leone, publicly praises the relationship established with the hospital and, therefore, with you: how important is Unical's contribution in a practical and scientific sense?

«Very important because it offers Annunziata the possibility of counting on great academic professionalism. The Magnificent Rector and I are proceeding in unison to create excellent public health in Calabria. This is possible thanks to the vision and trust conveyed by the president of the council, Roberto Occhiuto.”

What is the health production of the Annunziata?

«We record 1700 more operations and, for example, the Orthopedics department has reached the expected LEAs in the field of femur fracture. In fact, patients undergo operations 48 hours after the incident. We went from 8 percent to 62 percent of Lea.”

Look, Mariano Santo, intensive care, modern diagnostic instruments: where are you at?

«The Mariano Santo, after much waiting, is a reality, so much so that it has been equipped with a very modern linear accelerator. However, we are in the testing phase for the activation of other places in intensive care. As for the rest, I can tell you that 15 million euros of various types of instruments were purchased. Not only that: I can add that 10 million come from POR funds and therefore do not burden the regional coffers and therefore those of the citizens. I also confirm that in June the mortuary chamber will be inaugurated, finally worthy of receiving, with due respect and the necessary decorum, the bodies of deceased patients.”

How would you quantify the balance of this commitment in terms of journey?

“We are a third of what was found in terms of care, in terms of lack of spending control and renovation works still only in the planning phase.”

What continue to be the critical issues?

«No one hides behind a finger imagining that there aren't any. We are moving on all fronts. I can say we have made progress on the issue of emergency room; we have moved on that of the obsolete equipment park. It takes time to get everything back up to speed. I don't lack time and I look to the future with optimism.”

There is an escape of nurses from the operating rooms, so reports the CGIL: what's happening?

«Meanwhile, I can say that the operating theaters have made a big leap forward: 1,700 more operations were completed compared to the previous two years and, in particular, 2021 was the worst year for the hospital. These are interventions equal to approximately 10 million euros. This allows the Annunziata garrison to stay on track otherwise it would be economically unsustainable as a hub and as a healthcare facility.”

So what's the problem?

«If there is, it is being addressed according to the rules of a normal hospital and with respect for roles. There will be a meeting with the trade unions soon. This is without prejudice to the fact that the Annunziata is working, that the problems are being addressed and that, above all, more citizens are being cared for than in the past. These are the real data.”