Application No. 32647/96
                      by Giuseppina PASSANNANTE
                      against Italy

     The European Commission of Human Rights (First Chamber) sitting
in private on 1 July 1998, the following members being present:

           MM    M.P. PELLONPÄÄ, President
                 N. BRATZA
                 E. BUSUTTIL
                 A. WEITZEL
                 C.L. ROZAKIS
           Mrs   J. LIDDY
           MM    L. LOUCAIDES
                 B. MARXER
                 B. CONFORTI
                 I. BÉKÉS
                 G. RESS
                 A. PERENIC
                 C. BÎRSAN
                 K. HERNDL
                 M. VILA AMIGÓ
           Mrs   M. HION
           Mr    R. NICOLINI

           Mrs   M.F. BUQUICCHIO, Secretary to the Chamber

     Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

     Having regard to the application introduced on 20 March 1996 by
Giuseppina PASSANNANTE against Italy and registered on 19 August 1996
under file No. 32647/96;

     Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 47 of the Rules
of Procedure of the Commission;

     Having deliberated;

     Decides as follows:


     The applicant is an Italian national currently residing in
Cesenatico, Forlí. She is represented before the Commission by
Mr Domenico Baldassarre, her husband.

     The facts of the present case, as submitted by the applicant, may
be summarized as follows.

     The applicant, who suffers from migraines, wished to book a
neurological examination. Thus, on 18 March 1996 the applicant phoned
the public hospital in Cesena and she was told that she would have to
call back the following August to book the specialist's examination.
She was further told that, on the other hand, if she wished to pay for
the examination at a cost of 150,000 Italian liras she could have an
appointment with the neurologist on 22 March, that is to say four days

     The two options which the applicant was offered pertain to two
different systems: the reduced-fee-paying medical examination (the
patient pays a reduced and pre-fixed amount called "ticket") is a
service provided for by the public health service while the fee-paying
examination is of a private nature. As a matter of fact, the Italian
public health service is based on compulsory contributions which
entitle those who pay them to certain services, among which medical
examinations within public hospitals. However, a doctor who works in
a public hospital, after having completed his due working hours for the
hospital, can exercise privately his profession within the hospital
facilities, if the hospital allows him to do so. The hospital retains
a certain percentage of the doctor's fees as a "rent", for letting him
use its structures. However, despite taking place in a public
structure, such activity remains of a private nature.

     The applicant, who could not afford to pay 150,000 liras but
found it exorbitant having to wait five months only to book the
examination, decided not to see the doctor at all.


     The applicant complains that she has to wait about five months
in order merely to book a specialist's visit in an Italian public
hospital while she would be able to see the same specialist in the same
hospital in only four days if she were to pay 150,000 Italian liras.


     The applicant complains that she has to wait five months in order
to book a reduced-fee-paying visit in a public hospital while she would
wait only four days for a paying visit.

     The Commission first recalls that private life, within the
meaning of Article 8 (Art. 8) of the Convention, includes a person's
physical and psychological integrity (see Eur. Court HR, X and Y v. the
Netherlands judgment of 26 March 1985, Series A no. 91, para. 22 and,
mutatis mutandis, Eur. Court HR, Botta v. Italy judgment of 24 February
1998, para. 32, to be published in Reports of Judgments and Decisions,

     The Commission notes that the applicant was offered the choice
between two options: either she could make use of the public health
service and pay a reduced and fixed fee (the so-called "ticket") but
wait five months to book the medical examination or she could see the
doctor privately, within four days, paying 150,000 Italian liras.

     The Commission recalls that, while the essential object of
Article 8 (Art. 8) is to protect the individual against arbitrary
interference by the public authorities, it does not merely compel the
State to abstain from such interference: in addition to this negative
undertaking, there may be positive obligations inherent in effective
respect for private life (see Eur. Court HR, Stjerna v. Finland
judgment of 25 November 1994, Series A no. 299-B, p. 61, para. 38 and
Eur. Court HR, Botta judgment of 24 February 1998, para. 33, cited

     The Commission notes the Italian public health service is based
on compulsory contributions which entitle those who pay them to certain
services, among which medical examinations within public hospitals.
Therefore, the Commission considers that, in such circumstances where
the State has an obligation to provide medical care, an excessive delay
of the public health service in providing a medical service to which
the patient is entitled and the fact that such delay has, or is likely
to have, a serious impact on the patient's health could raise an issue
under Article 8 para. 1 (Art. 8-1) of the Convention.

     The Commission notes the absence under domestic law of time-
limits within which a person should be granted the required medical

     However, although the applicant submits that she had to wait five
months in order merely to book the medical examination, she did not
prove nor even allege that the above delay had a serious impact on her
physical or psychological conditions.

     The Commission further notes that the applicant, after the
telephone conversation with the hospital's operator, apparently
renounced from seeing the doctor which indicates, in the Commission's
opinion, that she did not consider the medical visit crucial for her

     Therefore the Commission considers that the circumstances of the
present case are not such as to warrant the conclusion that the delay
of the public authorities raises a serious issue under Article 8
(Art. 8) of the Convention and that the present application is
manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 27 para. 2
(Art. 27-2) of the Convention.

     For these reasons, the Commission, unanimously,


     M.F. BUQUICCHIO                            M.P. PELLONPÄÄ
        Secretary                                 President
   to the First Chamber                      of the First Chamber