Paediatricians in Switzerland warn of shortages and long waiting times
Paediatricians in Switzerland are raising the alarm over long waiting times and a potential lack of beds in hospitals for sick and injured children, as the number of kids seeking emergency care surges. Swiss broadcaster SRF explained that staff shortages and a new demand for emergency consultations are most likely to blame.
Paediatricians are concerned there will be shortages during the winter
Pädiatrie Schweiz, the specialist organisation for child and adolescent medicine, has expressed concerns that as the weather gets colder and winter arrives in Switzerland, patient capacity at children’s hospitals across the country may be stretched to the limit. The Swiss healthcare system has been struggling with a staff shortage for a number of years already, but since the COVID-19 pandemic, upheaval in the industry has complicated matters further.
Shortages of doctors and other qualified medical staff are not the only issue though. Pädiatrie Schweiz also said in a statement that "in some clinics, child emergencies increased by more than 50 percent in the first half of 2022 compared to 2021 or the pre-pandemic years", suggesting that one of the reasons for overcrowding in children’s hospitals is due to increased demand for emergency consultations.
Longest waiting times for children with smaller complaints
Understandably, the most seriously unwell children are treated first, while the parents of children with ailments that are easy to treat should currently expect long waiting times at some hospitals.
Traudel Saurenmann, chief physician at the children's clinic at the Kantonsspital Winterthur (KSW) told SRF that the hospital has “taken measures and increased shifts”, adding that the clinic is “particularly concerned about the winter," considering that emergency departments are filling up already during the summer and autumn when there is typically less demand.