Concerns raised about Switzerland's reliance on older expat doctors

Concerns raised about Switzerland's reliance on older expat doctors

The latest report by the Swiss Medical Association (FMH) has found that one in four doctors in Switzerland are aged 60 years or older, while a whopping 40 percent of the workforce comes from overseas. The FMH say that a new plan to attract doctors to hospitals is needed urgently, as staff shortages and an ageing workforce remain issues for the health service.

Almost 40 percent of doctors in Switzerland expats or internationals

The report found that of the 39.222 doctors practising in Switzerland, half were 50 years old or older and 25 percent were over the age of 60. The average age of a doctor in Switzerland is now 55 years - three years older than in 2005. 

Along with an ageing workforce, the FMH found that around 40 percent of doctors are expats or internationals. Among the residence permit holders, 52 percent are German doctors, 9,2 percent are Italian, 7,2 percent are French and 6 percent are Austrian. The FMH said it expected the dependence on expat labour to continue increasing unless more is done to provide higher education and university courses to budding Swiss doctors.

More investment needed to combat staff shortages

In regard to gender, the report found that 700 more female doctors were employed in Switzerland over the last year. This means that around 45 percent of all the doctors in Switzerland are now women.

The FMH has warned that the fate of Swiss healthcare and the consequences of staff shortages will depend on the actions of the government in the coming years, and highlighted the need for better working conditions and salaries as the main ways to attract younger workers to the field.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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