Parliament votes to ease entry and work requirements for non-Swiss doctors
According to Le Matin, the Swiss government wants to make it easier for doctors who qualified abroad to come and work in Switzerland. The National Council voted strongly in favour of relaxing the rules in order to allow more GPs, paediatricians, psychiatrists and psychotherapists for children to enter Switzerland, if there is a shortage of qualified professionals.
Currently doctors need to train for three years
At the moment, a non-Swiss doctor who wants to practice in Switzerland must have completed at least three years of postgraduate training at a "Swiss-approved" institution abroad. While the rules are designed to be a deterrent against employing underqualified doctors, politicians speaking to Le Matin have argued that it has made it harder to combat skills shortages in the industry - especially considering that healthcare professionals are in very high demand in Switzerland.
In response, a vote in the National Council on Tuesday sought to change the rules - a huge majority of 157 votes against 32 voted to relax the regulations so that qualified doctors can begin to work in Switzerland sooner, so long as they specialise in a role that is currently in short supply. Under the plans, individual cantons will be allowed to fast-track expat doctors, if their healthcare sector is experiencing a skills shortage.
With the reform, the government hopes to bolster the number of staff in the healthcare sector, especially as the Swiss population continues to grow and age.
Minority believe that costs could increase in healthcare
However, a small minority of the officials voting in the National Council felt that bringing more foreign-qualified physicians into the country would increase costs. In response, supporters argued that parliament must recognise the need for more qualified healthcare professionals, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan will now be sent to the Council of States for approval.