Swiss voters will decide on whether to improve pay and working conditions for careworkers, after the Swiss Careworkers Association handed in enough signatures to force a nationwide ballot.
The 112,000 valid signatures handed into the Federal Chancellery on Tuesday demand that the government and the cantons recognise and support nursing care as an important element of healthcare provision.
They should also ensure that high-quality nursing is accessible for everybody and that sufficient careworkers are available. “Only with high-quality nursing can patient safety be guaranteed,” the association said.
The organisers of the initiative – called “For strong nursing care” – also want to make a career in nursing more attractive, pointing out that the gap continues to grow between the number of those needing nursing care and those trained to provide it.
Over the past five years, only 43% of the needed number of careworkers have been trained, according to the association. Until now, the lack of Swiss careworkers has been covered by foreign ones, it added, but problems will arise when the countries from which these careworkers currently come also experience shortages.
It also urged the government to ensure that careworkers receive appropriate pay and working conditions, for example concerning work hours, on-call shifts and opportunities for further education.
Opponents say these demands will lead to higher costs.
swissinfo.ch and agencies/ts