The Italian Ministry of Health (http://www.ministerosalute.it) is the National Health Services' main arm. It was established by Law 317 in 2001 separating its functions from those of the Ministry of Welfare and assigning to it "the functions pertaining to the State concerning the human health preservation, National Health Service coordination, veterinary health, workplace health preservation, food hygiene and safety."
The Ministry oversees the preservation of health, as well as other health issues such as workplace preservation and safety, nutrition, and scientific research.
The role of the State concerning health issues has changed. Formerly, the State's role was to organize services and perform administrative duties. Now the State is guarantor for the equity in the implementation of the right of health as sanctioned by Article 32 of Italy's Constitution.
In such a context and consistent with other countries in Europe, Italy's National Health Plan of 2003-2005 determined the responsibilities of the Ministry of Health as:
To ensure that all individuals have equity, quality, efficiency, and clearness of health information through proper and adequate communication.
To emphasize inequalities and inequities, and to promote corrective and ameliorative actions.
To collaborate with the Regions to highlight and address medical realities.
To support innovation and change guidelines as required to address the great menaces of public health.
For all the activities related to HIV infection and AIDS, the Ministry of Health relies on the National AIDS Commission as an advisory body.