Swiss hospital banned from performing surgery due to poor hygiene

Swiss hospital banned from performing surgery due to poor hygiene

A hospital in Canton Vaud is no longer permitted to carry out surgeries, after an inspection by Switzerland’s medicines agency Swissmedic. The organisation ordered the closure of the hospital’s central sterilisation facility over what the organisation described as “poor hygiene”, meaning operations can no longer take place.

Hospital hygiene becoming an issue across Switzerland

The hospital in question, in Château-d'Oex in the canton of Vaud, is not alone in its recent troubles. According to Blick, hospital hygiene is an issue across Switzerland, illustrated by a recent increase in the number of wound infections across the country, which suggests that hygiene issues at healthcare facilities are much more widespread. 

While the Swiss healthcare system remains one of the best in the world, wound infection cases are now higher than in other countries - for example, Germany and the United States - which implies hygiene issues in hospitals need to be tackled more directly. Rates of infection vary widely across the country, which is why Swissmedic’s annual inspections are important to track these developments.

Vaud hospital suspected that it would not pass inspection

The boss of the Château-d'Oex hospital, Pascale Castellani, said that the findings by Swissmedic are not entirely surprising. "We knew that our facilities did not quite meet the latest standards and expected that we would encounter difficulties with a routine check", he told Blick

Despite acknowledging that it was not a surprise, Castellani did take the opportunity to criticise Swissmedic’s approach to hospital inspections. The hospital’s director said that the introduction of "more and ever higher standards" created high costs for doctors and hospitals and that it is unfair that all hospitals are assessed on the same criteria “regardless of their size”. The hospital must now fund around 800.000 Swiss francs worth of changes in order to return to providing its full range of services.

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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