Healthcare policy focuses on public health and public healthcare provision. Access to prevention and early identification services and to appropriate healthcare for all sectors of the population is an important basic requirement. Further topics include quality assurance of the services provided and the financial viability, data situation and manageability of the healthcare system.
Editorial Pascal Strupler. Large numbers of Italians have migrated to Switzerland in the last hundred years. Most of them have earned their living the hard way, doing physically challenging work on building sites, in hotels or big factories. Their children have gone to school here and have therefore been able to take up other occupations. They are no longer trained as bricklayers and waiters, but became bank employees, businesspeople and lawyers. Many of them have taken Swiss nationality, studied at our universities and hold political office. They have integrated into society, and it is hard to imagine it without them. more
Equality of opportunity. By extending the duration of the National Programme on Migration and Health to the end of 2017, the Swiss government (Federal Council) aims to contribute towards improving the health of Switzerland's migrant communities. A publication summarises the status of implementation of the programme and outlines the future aims and measures. more
The Swiss government's "Health2020" agenda is a comprehensive overview of current health-policy challenges and short and medium term priorities for action. Its implementation offers far-reaching opportunities for further developing healthcare delivery and also for moving forward on other important public-health concerns. more
Interview with Federal Councillor Alain Berset. In January, the Swiss government approved the "Health 2020" strategy – a health-policy agenda focusing on four action areas and 36 measures to be implemented in stages. Health minister Alain Berset talked to spectra about the role of prevention in this comprehensive overview of health policy, about state responsibility and self-responsibility, the federal nature of the healthcare system and the importance of cooperation within and between the main departments of government in promoting and safeguarding public health. more
Editorial Stefan Spycher. In January 2013, the Swiss government approved a health-policy agenda not previously seen in this form in Switzerland. "Health2020" presents the first-ever comprehensive strategy for the Swiss healthcare system. It identifies the challenges facing the healthcare system and defines the health-policy goals resulting from these challenges, and the measures that will have to be adopted between now and 2020. The aim is to enhance quality of life and equality of opportunity for the population as a whole, promote standards of healthcare delivery and further improve the transparency and manageability of the system. more
Non-communicable diseases. Cancer, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes mellitus: non-communicable diseases are now the number-one cause of death all over the world. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan described the spread of these diseases as a "slow motion disaster" and one of the biggest health challenges of the future. more
Public-health ethics. Despite their community focus, public-health institutions must never lose sight of the needs of the individual. Measures that benefit society can harm the individual. There again, behaviour that is harmful to health can cause additional economic burdens that have to be borne by society as a whole. But which principles need to be respected when we are weighing up harm against benefit, community wellbeing against that of the individual? The answer has to lie in the ethics of public health. more
Editorial Salome von Greyerz. Unlike medical ethics, which are concerned with ethical dilemmas relating to the treatment of individual patients, public health ethics apply to the health sector as a whole. They constitute a basis for ethical judgements of measures taken by health authorities or private health institutions rather than on the actions of individuals such as doctors or nursing staff. more
"In the end, the Act foundered because of the government spending 'brake' mechanism, even though the bill itself enjoyed majority support."
Five questions for Felix Gutzwiller. The planned Prevention Act was definitively rejected by a small majority of votes at the end of September when the Council of States refused to loosen the spending "brake" mechanism (to allow redistribution of federal funds). The opponents of the Prevention Act feared new regulations, growing state interventionism and loss of cantonal power. We asked Felix Gutzwiller – professor of medicine, expert on prevention and FDP (Free Democratic Party) representative for Zurich on the Council of States – for his views on the background to this development. more
eHealth. The Swiss eHealth Strategy is designed to improve the safety and quality of the Swiss healthcare system by linking up all the relevant players and their IT systems with each other and enabling them to access patient data whenever it is needed. For patients this means: "My healthcare data. Available whenever and wherever it is required." more