interview with Dr. Giovanni Quarta

BRINDISI – “I will try to be an annoying interlocutor with the decision-making bodies, to make it clear that citizens have the right to have their opinion and above all to demand equality”. Dr. Gianni Quarta begins a new experience as an external collaborator, free of charge, of the municipal administration of Brindisi, on the issues of infrastructure and the health emergency. The beginning of the collaboration was made official Thursday (March 25) by the mayor Riccardo Rossi, on the occasion of the presentation of the new councilors. Graduated in 1976 in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Pavia and specializing in clinical and laboratory hematology as a student of Professor Edoardo Storti, Quarta has led the complex operating unit of Hematology in Brindisi since its establishment, dating back to 1995, until March 31, 2013, the date of his retirement. “Since the beginning of his career – as reported on the ASL Br site – he did his utmost to ensure that the citizens of Brindisi could take advantage of a department of this clinical specialty without having to migrate to distant regional and extra-regional structures”. He currently practices privately at the “Dr. Mardighian Medical Studies Center” in Mesagne.

Doctor Quarta, how did you accept the proposal to collaborate with the municipal administration of Brindisi?

I was very pleased. The mayor called me and given my 40-year knowledge of the health situation in Brindisi and my professional experience asked me if I was willing to help the city in this present health emergency and for future health organizations in which the Municipality can in some way to intervene. I have been very honored by this attention and I have given my willingness to contribute to my city free of charge, as it has always been in my history as a volunteer and as a hospital doctor.

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Healthcare is a matter of competence of the Region and the State. How do you think a local administration can affect this area?

I point out that I’m not going to run the health services or help the mayor do it. The management of services is mainly entrusted to the Regions and with great difficulty to the State. However, the municipal administrations have always been concerned with the health and social protection of citizens. In this pandemic we have realized how the distance of health care from citizens in the regional field has been considerable. Along with this, for the mayor, there are a series of tasks that are necessary for the proper functioning of a company. I am referring, to give some examples, to urgent ordinances, health surveillance in commercial establishments, licenses.

Have you already made any proposals to the mayor?

I saw the mayor in agreement with me and very motivated with respect to the proposal to strengthen the action of the Municipality in a decisive way, especially in terms of proposal, of active control, of claiming all those who are public health issues, namely the ” organization of hospital and local services, strengthening of networks, greater accessibility to services. Up to now, the Municipalities have expressed their approval by notarizing issues that are handled by Bari and the singer company. Well, I will try to be an annoying interlocutor, if you pass me this term, to make it clear that citizens have the right to have their opinion and above all to demand equality. I am referring, for example, to the essential levels of assistance, which we know are extremely disparities throughout the national territory. We have seen how difficult it is to try to ensure to all citizens some services that our territory cannot provide. It is therefore a question of thinking about supervisory initiatives, proposals, strong dialogue with the ASL, the Region and the State, if necessary. I will put into practice what I have done in many years: building, innovating, stimulating, participating.

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Budget Councilor Francesco Saponaro, who took office on Thursday (25 March), mentioned the possibility of setting up the telemedicine service, through the resources of the Recovery plan (National Recovery and Resilience Plan). What do you think?

In 2007 the hematology department and the transfusion center of which at the time I was primary ad interim organized a telemedicine service with the transfusion centers of Ostuni and Francavilla, which at that time were merged, so that they could communicate with each other for any emergency . It was ensured that the exams taken in Ostuni could be processed in Brindisi through a telematic system. This is why I am not in favor of telemedicine, of which I am an advocate and of which I have direct knowledge. The Hematology department of the Perrino hospital was the first to do the robotic pharmacy at the regional level. Thanks to this system, the drugs were automatically distributed to each individual patient, with a safety check.

Have you set yourself a goal?

The money from the recovery plan, if spent well, will make it possible to carry out a health requalification that has been lacking in recent years. Let’s not forget that the Di Summa hospital was one of the best hospitals in the South. The Burn Center, Hematology, Plastic Surgery, Neonatal Intensive Care were all unique operational units in the region. Then there was this slow and continuous degradation linked to the cut in resources, staff cuts and political dynamics that are not always clear. I set myself as a goal, a little presumptuous, to be an interlocutor with decision-making institutions, to try and bring to our home everything that has been taken away from us.

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Do you think that Brindisi, from a health point of view, has been the cinderella of Puglia in recent years?

The Apulian healthcare in general was a healthcare commissioner, with spending difficulties, dilapidated hospitals, closed hospitals, renovated and then closed hospitals, operating theaters built and never used. The alerts made by doctors and operators in the sector have always been thrown away, because they had to balance budgets and not the needs of citizens. In my life I have always put the sick at the center and we will continue to pretend that all citizens are “sick of health poverty”. We must try to tackle this health poverty and improve in all areas.

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