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Medical Tourism to Italy

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Italy is undoubtedly one of the most iconic destinations in Europe –from its rich culture and history, and of course, the food; the Mediterraneancountry boasts impressive sights, sounds, and experiences for both locals andvisitors alike. [1]

In December 1978, Italy created a national, universal health-caresystem, called the Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, or simply SSN. The SSNautomatically covers all Italian citizens and legal foreign residents. Itprovides a full range of healthcare services with a free choice of providers. [2]

Italy’s average level of medical care is high in comparison tointernal standards. According to the World Health Organization, the Italianhealthcare system has ranked 2nd best in terms of worldwide performance, andItalian doctors are typically highly qualified. [1]

Italy'sHealthcare System

In the 2000s, WHO recognized Italy as the second in the world interms of accessibility and medical care efficiency. [3]

Each region is responsible for organization and delivery of healthservices through local health units and via public and accredited privatehospitals. [3]

Public and Private Healthcare

The number of public hospitals and private hospitals accreditedwith the national health service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale - SSN) in Italywas equal to 1,048 in 2020. According to the figures, 570 of these hospitalswere completely public, while 478 were private hospitals accredited with theItalian NHS[4]

Private medical facilities in Italy are in excellent condition.While the comfort and quality of service at private hospitals are typicallysuperior to state facilities, the quality of care is likely to be similar. Itis also important to note that some treatments at private medical facilities inthe country can be costly without the support of private health insurance. [5]


Health Insurance in Italy

EU citizens can use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)to access state healthcare during a short-term visit. UK citizens can make useof their Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which replaced the EHIC for UKcitizens post-Brexit[6]

JCI AccreditedHospitals/Clinics – Italy



Hospital Name


A.p.s.p. Residenza Valle dei Laghi

Long Term Care Program

Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Meyer

Academic Medical Center Hospital Program

CDI Centro Diagnostico Italiano S.p.a.

Ambulatory Care Program

Ceinge Biotecnologie Avanzate Scarl


Centro Chirurgico Toscano Srl

Hospital Program

COT Cure Ortopediche Traumatologiche S.p.A.

Hospital Program

European Institute of Oncology (Istituto European di Oncologia)

Hospital Program

Fondazione CNAO

Ambulatory Care Program

Fondazione Poliambulanza

Hospital Program

Fondazione Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli IRCCS

Academic Medical Center Hospital Program

Campus Bio-Medico University Hospital (UCBM)

Academic Medical Center Hospital Program

Giannina Gaslini Children's Hospital

Hospital Program

Humanitas Gavazzeni

Hospital Program

Humanitas Instituto Clinico Catanese

Hospital Program

IRCCS Centro San Giovanni di Dio Fatebenefratelli

Long Term Care Program

IRCCS Istituto Clinico Humanitas

Academic Medical Center Hospital Program

Istituto Clinico Mater Domini - Casa Di Cura Privata Spa

Hospital Program

Istituto di Medicina Fisica e Riabilitazione "Gervasutta"

Long Term Care Program

ISMETT (Istituto Mediterraneo per i Trapianti e le Terapie ad Alta Specializzazione)

Hospital Program

Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesu

Academic Medical Center Hospital Program

Presidio Ospedaliero Ospedale dei Bambini

Academic Medical Center Hospital Program

Santa Chiara Hospital

Hospital Program


Ambulatory Care Program

UPMC San Pietro FBF - Advanced Radiotherapy Center

Ambulatory Care Program


Top Hospitalsfor Foreign Patients in Italy

There are six popular hospitals in Italy are public hospital and4 hospitals are private hospitals. [8]






Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli





Grande Ospedale Metropolitano Niguarda





Policlinico Sant'Orsola-Malpighi





Ospedale San Raffaele - Gruppo San Donato





Istituto Clinico Humanitas





Azienda Ospedaliera di Padova





Ospedale Borgo Trento





Ospedale Policlinico San Matteo





Ospedale Papa Giovanni XXIII





IRCCS Arcispedale Santa Maria Nuova



Reggio Nell'Emilia


CommonProcedures done by Medical Tourists in Italy

·       Cosmetic Surgery [9]

·       Hair Transplant [9]

·       Bariatric procedures [10]

·       Dental Care [10]

Cost of Medical Treatment in Italy

Medical Procedures [11]


UK ()

USA ()

Italy ()


Bariatric Surgery 

Gastric Bypass Surgery

9,035 – 16,940

13,870 – 21,270


8% – 32%

Sleeve Gastrectomy

9,035 – 12,730

6,865 – 31,020


48% – 70%


Radiofrequency Ablation




71% – 84%

Medical Check-Up 

Check-Up for Osteoporosis

190 – 280



57% – 69%

Check-Up for thyroid gland

115 – 277

30 – 465

135 – 185

18% – 35%

Basic gynecological check up

225 – 340

70 – 555

20 – 150

70% – 73%

Basic cardiological check up

225 – 340

190 – 280


42% – 30%

Basic check up

170 – 490

95 – 185

28 – 52

88% – 71%

Gastroenterological check up

310 – 340



42% – 46%

Diabetic check up

85 – 140

20 – 60


88% – 65%

Comprehensive examination for women



120 – 230

62% – 42%

Comprehensive examination for men


65 – 230

50 – 95

87% – 51%

Comprehensive gynecological check up

230 – 345

140 – 925

80 – 100

69% – 83%

Comprehensive cardiology check up



140 – 250

86% – 84%

Comprehensive Metabolic check up

230 – 345

100 – 1,050


41% – 71%

Malpractice and Liability Laws in Italy


Today Italian laws have introduced, both for doctors and medicalfacilities, a sort of compulsory insurance, which is aimed at compensatingdamages in case of medical malpractice: as a result, in case of misdiagnosispatients can bring legal proceedings directly against the insurance company,thus having the chance to get compensation faster. [12]

Before taking action for compensation, anyway, it is alwaysrecommended to have a medical forensic examination conducted, so as toascertain the causal link between medical malpractice and damage suffered.Thereafter, once the causal link is ascertained, an attempt atconciliation must be carried out. [12]

Compensation for the damage suffered must be claimed within 10years in case of a civil action. Otherwise, compensation must be claimed within3 months of becoming aware of the unlawful action, that is within three monthsof becoming aware that a pathology was determined by misdiagnosis or medicalerror. [12]



ü  Affordable Prices

Seeking medical care with the public system is veryaffordable—most procedures and appointments are free-of-charge or subject to asmall fee. [13]

ü  High Numbers of Staff

The number of doctors per 1000 inhabitants is higher than theEuropean average for doctors in Italy when it comes to medical and paramedicalpersonnel. [14]

ü  Highly Skilled Professionals

Medical staff and professionals in Italy are highly skilled andtrained. [13]

ü  High Qualified Health System

According to astudy on the effectiveness of health systems, the Italian health system isamong the most efficient, despite some shortcomings, which are also linked tothe Decimation of public spending on health. [14]



û  Language

You may have difficulty finding medical professionals in thepublic healthcare system who speak English or another language other thanItalian. It’s not as easy to find English-speaking medical staff unless you’rein larger cities or goprivate. [15]

û  Appointment Hours

Even if you have an appointment at a hospital, you may stillhave to wait. [15]

û  Long Waiting List in State Hospitals

Seeing a specialist in Italy may take months in state hospitals, which can delay both diagnosis and treatments. [15] 

û  Digitalization of the Healthcare System

They are behindin the digitalization of the health system. (it is hoped that support will beprovided for electronic health file, telemedicine, electronic prescription). [14]


Traveling toItaly

The majority of these arrivals are mainly Arabs, Swiss, Russiansand Albanians who are mostly treated for neurology, cardiac surgery, oncology,bariatric surgery, and orthopaedics departments. [16]

Average estimated travel time in hours and kilometres: [17]



UK (London)

2 hours 7 minutes / 1444.74km


7 hours 45 minutes / 6183.32km


12 hours 20 minutes / 10026.10km


19 hours 49 minutes / 16323.77km


1 hours 48 minutes / 1187.78km

Accra (Ghana)

5 hours 25 minutes / 4222.74km

Los Angeles

12 hours 35 minutes / 10234.53km


2 hours 45 minutes / 1983.46km


Traveling by Train:

Traveling by train from the city of Rome in Italy to the city ofAmsterdam in the Netherlands, the main route passes through France or Germany.For example, from Venice/Milan (Italy) to Paris (France). Or fromRome/Milan/Venice (Italy) to Munich (Germany)[18]

There are two main routes: [19]

        1. Roma (Italy)- Munich (Germany) - Amsterdam (Netherlands) [18]

        2.Roma (Italy) - Milan (Italy) - Paris (France) - Amsterdam (Netherlands) [18]


Entry and Exit Requirements to Italy

European Countries:

All EU /EEA nationals will only need to present an identification document to enterItaly due to the common travel area of the Schengen Zone, part of which Italyis. [19]

In themeantime, if you are a non-EU/EEA traveller wishing to visit Italy, San Marinoor the Vatican, you will need to present the following at the Italian port ofentry in order to be permitted to enter: [19]

·     A validpassport or travel document. Valid for at least three more months beyond theirplanned date of Exit from Schengen and issued within the last ten years[19]

·       A visa –if they are subject to the Italian visa regime[19]

·       Proof ofsufficient financial means for the period of stay in Italy. The Italianauthorities want you to prove you have the necessary financial means to supportyourself throughout your stay in Italy. You will need to prove you havethe following amount depending on the length of your stay[19]

·       Up to 5days – The overall amount is 269.60€ per person and 212.81 per two and morepersons[19]

·       6-10 days– The daily amount is 44.93€ per person and 26.33€ per two and more persons[19]

·     11-20days – The overall amount is 51.64€ per person and 25.82€ per two and morepersons, plus the daily amount is 36.67€ per person and 22.21€ per two and morepersons[19]

·     Over 20days – The overall amount is 206.58€ per person and 118.79€ per two and morepersons, plus the daily amount is 27.89€ per person and 17.04€ per two and morepersons[19]

Middle East Countries:

AnItalian transit visa allows the holder to change their travel vessel in anItalian port in order to continue onward travels to a non-Schengen country[20]

If youneed to change airplanes in an Italian airport, depending on your country, youmay need to apply for an Italian Airport Transit Visa, also known as an A-visa[20]

You needan Airport Transit Visa (ATV) for Italy if you are a national of the followingcountries: [20]


Democratic Republic of Congo











Sri Lanka


Asian Countries:

Generally,you will not need a visa to travel to Italy for a period of up to 90 days.Citizens of Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Japan and many other countriescan spend 90 days within a 180-day period in the wider Schengen area, includingItaly and other countries in the EU. [21]

Citizensof many other nationalities, including China, South Africa and Russia do needto apply for and obtain a Schengen visa before travelling to Italy and the EU. [21]

From UK:

You cantravel to countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days in any 180-dayperiod without a visa. This applies if you travel as a tourist, to visit familyor friends, to attend business meetings, cultural or sports events, or forshort-term studies or training[21]

If youare travelling to Italy and other Schengen countries without a visa, make sureyour whole visit is within the 90-day limit. Visits to Schengen countrieswithin the previous 180 days before you travel count towards your 90 days[21]

From US:

Americansmust have an entrance visa which should be obtained at an Italian consulatebefore coming to Italy, in order to remain in Italy more than three months andgain resident status. This procedure will take several weeks to complete so itis advisable to apply well in advance of the departure date. The visa will begranted only for the time indicated on the application. Americans already inItaly without a visa will have to leave Italy to obtain one before they will beable to gain resident status[22]

From Canada:

ETHICS isa new travel authorisation for the Schengen Area. It will be an entryrequirement for Canadian tourists and other short-stay visitors travelling toItaly[23]

ETIAS islinked to the traveller’s passport and verified at an external Schengen border.The same ETIAS is valid to travel to Italy and other countries in the Schengenzone[23]

ETIAS isnot a visa. It is a travel authorisation similar to the ESTA for the UnitedStates. Canadians can continue travelling to Italy short-term without a visa, butthey will need to register for ETIAS[23]

From Australia:

Australiansdon't need a visa to travel to countries in the Schengen Area for up to 90 daysin any 180-day period. Your reason for travel must be for one or more of thereasons below: [24]

·       Business Purposes

·       VisitingFriends and Family

·       Tourismand Holidays

·       OfficialVisit

·       MedicalReasons

·       Short-TermStudy and Research Purposes


Statistics for Medical Tourism in Italy

Recently, Italian hospitals have won the gold seal of quality inthe European ranking of hospitals which is awarded by the prestigious JointCommission International. This commission certifies adherence to 368 safety andstandards and quality of care. [25]

A studyestimates that worldwide every year 7 million people take a trip for healthreasons. Today, Italy represents 17% of the medical tourism in Europe. [25]




[1] Travellers Guide to Healthcare inItaly

[2] Italian Healthcare System: HealthcareSystem in Italy - Servizio Sanitario Nazionale

[3] State of Health in the EU: Italy –Country Health Profile 2021  

[4] Number of public hospitals andprivate hospitals accredited with the NHS in Italy in 2020

[5] Travelers Guide to Healthcare inItaly

[6] Healthcare in Italy

[7] JCI Accredited Organisations(Italy) 

[8] Newsweek - World's Best Hospitals 2022 (Italy)

[9] Medical Tourism in Italy

[10] Italy: Culture,Cuisine and Quality Care

[11] Common Treatment Costs – Italy

[12] Italy: Compensation For Medical MistakeIn Italy: What To Do?

[13] Health Insurance and Healthcare inItaly Explained

[14] La sanità in Italia a confronto con quella deglialtri Stati Europei (Healthcare in Italy Compared with that of Other EuropeanCountries)

[15] Health Insurance and Healthcare inItaly Explained

[16] Health tourism in Italy has a Positive Outlook

[17] How long does it taketo get from A to B by plane?

[18] Rome to Amsterdam by train

[19] Italy Visa Application and Entry Requirements

[20] Countries whose Nationals are Subject to the Requirement of an Airport Transit Visa

[21] Do you need a visa for Italy?

[22] Visiting/Living in Italy

[23] Entering Italy from Canada with ETIAS

[24] Visas and entry requirements inEurope and the Schengen Area

[25] Health tourismin Italy has a positive outlook


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