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health and care How many nurses are providing care in Switzerland?

Newly published figures have fuelled a debate about nursing staff in Switzerland. The numbers given by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) greatly differ from reporting by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  

Nurse recruits
(Keystone / Gaetan Bally)

The FSO claims there are 11.7 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants, whereas the OECD says there is a ratio of 17 nurses to 1,000 inhabitants.⁠ This figure, the Paris-based organisation adds, is higher in Switzerland than in the other countries for example, Germany, Finland and Denmark.

So, why the discrepancy? In some countries, including Switzerland, the OECD counts not only nursing professionals, but also nursing staff with a lower level of qualification. This boosts the number for Switzerland. ⁠

Hospitals, nursing homes and homes for the elderly in Switzerland are desperately looking for nursing specialists. ⁠

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