Characteristics and outcome of access to A&E by citizenship in Italy


Research has shown that migrant status coincides with disparities in the use of hospital services. Migrants tend to use Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments rather than hospital services and they resort to A&E more than native-born individuals.

This recently published study by the International Journal of Public Health aimed to analyse the characteristics of A&E access, process management and outcome, after grouping patients by their citizenship in an urban area in Italy, where large-scale immigration is a relatively recent phenomenon.

The study used data from a record linkage database from a local health unit in the Veneto Region in North East Italy. Data for more than 35,500 adults visiting the A&E in 2010 were collected.

The results showed an underutilisation of primary care services, as well as use of A&E for nonurgent conditions for all nationalities, including natives. Illegal migrants were more frequently hospitalised after A&E visits than other groups.

The authors conclude that it is necessary to educate the whole population, including foreigners, to use the services of A&E departments properly. It is also important to offer people an alternative solution that is as convenient and accessible as the A&E.


This paper was written by Alessandra Buja, Marco Fusco, Patrizia Furlan, Chiara Bertoncello, Tatjana Baldobvin, Patrizia Casale, and Adriano Marcolongo

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