Healthcare Costs: Should Swiss Hospitals Clamp Down On Expenses?


(MENAFN- Swissinfo) Many Swiss hospitals are making considerable losses, require millions in government aid and have to cut services. Read up on the topic and join the discussion on the multilingual debate platform "dialogue".

This content was published on April 4, 2024 - 10:52 3 minutes

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  • Deutsch de Schweizer Spitäler am Tropf Read more: Schweizer Spitäler am Tropf
  • Français fr Le système de santé suisse sous tension: un difficile équilibre entre soins et finances Read more: Le système de santé suisse sous tension: un difficile équilibre entre soins et finances

Most hospitals in Switzerland are struggling financially and making losses. A problem that has been dragging on for years and was exacerbated during the coronavirus pandemic – even though there are fewer and fewer hospitals offering basic care.

Inflation has made the situation even worse, as hospitals cannot adjust their tariffs in line with rising prices. As a result, some facilities had to close, others had to take millions in aid from the state. And staff are also being cut.

External Content Millions for the Fribourg Cantonal Hospital

One example is the Fribourg Cantonal Hospital, which has been in deficit since 2016 and has an accumulated debt of more than CHF60 million (about $66 million). Although the hospital has initiated a reorganisation, the canton will have to step in until the measures take effect, as Swiss public radio SRF explainsExternal link .

The cantonal parliament has approved a guarantee of over CHF100 million and a loan of CHF70 million for the most urgent investments. However, the voters will have the final say on June 9.

External Content Chur keeps its paediatric intensive care

One hospital unit that was at risk of being closed is the paediatric and neonatal intensive care unit in Chur in the canton of Graubünden. However, this sparked a mobilisation of the population, which collected over 30,000 signatures in favour of maintaining the unit at the Graubünden Cantonal Hospital.

As reported by Swiss public television RTRExternal link , the mobilisation reached its goal: the Graubünden Cantonal Hospital can keep its unit, which was considered to be of importance not only for the canton itself, but for the entire national paediatric care network.

External Content Price differences that are hard to explain

The fact that pacemaker prices can vary by CHF10,000 from one canton to another has caused a debate in Ticino. But not just there.

According to Swiss public radio RSIExternal link , this case highlights the very non-transparent system of the medical device market, against which politicians have almost unanimously spoken up.

External Content Disillusionment among young doctors

There's another problem that looms on the horizon for the Swiss healthcare system: one third of medical students want to leave the profession after their first practical experience due to working conditions, as Swiss public radio RTS reportsExternal link .

Lack of human contact, long overtime hours and much time spent on administrative tasks instead of caring for patients often drain enthusiasm for the job.

External Content Recruiting nursing staff abroad

Switzerland has one of the highest densities of nursing staff in the world. In 2019, it had an average of 18 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants. That's about twice the averageExternal link of fellow wealthy nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

External Content

At the same time, hospitals are faced with a shortage of qualified staff, which leads them to increasingly look abroad for suitable personnel. As our in-depth report shows, the situation is tackled with a two-pronged offensive: increasing training and improving working conditions.

More More How Switzerland recruits nursing staff abroad

This content was published on Feb 22, 2023 Faced with ongoing staff shortages, Swiss hospitals are increasingly seeking out new nurses abroad.

Read more: How Switzerland recruits nursing staff abroad

However, it will take time for these measures to show results, while healthcare costs remain a major concern for people living in Switzerland.

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