Staff shortages hit Swiss hospitals as A&E department forced to close at night
A Swiss hospital has been forced to close its emergency department at night due to a lack of doctors and other healthcare staff. The move has sparked concerns that other understaffed hospitals could soon follow suit.
Staff shortages at Martigny reflect a wider problem
According to Le Temps, the accident and emergency department at a hospital in Martigny, Canton Valais, has been forced to close at night. Authorities in the canton have blamed the disruption on an acute shortage of hospital staff.
Speaking to the newspaper, co-president of the Swiss Society for Emergency Medicine Vincent Ribordy said the situation reflects a problem seen across the Swiss healthcare system. Shortages of qualified staff have been a known issue in Switzerland for a number of years, and the problems at Martigny are a concrete demonstration of the need for more healthcare professionals. “We thought that the capacity of this system was limitless, but this is not the case”, Ribordy noted.
More pressure put on the Swiss healthcare system since 2020
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more pressure has been placed on the Swiss healthcare system. The current winter season has seen COVID-19 and the usual winter ailments such as flu and pneumonia put extra pressure on services - there have also been rising cases of RSV in children, putting even more strain on hospital staff.
Combine this with the lack of trained healthcare staff going into the profession and it’s easy to see how staff shortages are occurring - especially as staff also get sick themselves around this time of year.
The head of emergencies at the Fribourg hospital told ATS that the current process required to hire and train medical professionals also doesn’t help the situation. "To contemplate this shortage while maintaining the regulatory mechanisms [for hiring staff] through quotas, numerous clauses, etc., it is an incomprehensible attitude on the part of our authorities”, the official said.
Image: Shutterstock.com / Michael Derrer Fuchs
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