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Quality control Parliament agrees to tackle medical errors in hospitals

Medical staff during a ward round in a hospital

It is estimated that up to 3,000 patients die in Swiss hospitals every year as a result of medical errors.

(© Keystone/Gaetan Bally)

A panel of experts is to oversee quality standards in Swiss hospitals and doctors’ practices in a bid to avoid medical errors.

Parliament decided in principle to set up a government-appointed commission, made up of medical experts, insurance companies, patients, hospitals as well as the cantons to define compulsory rules to ensure the quality of treatments.

The panel of experts will have the right to sanction providers of medical services who fail to adhere to the standards.

Supporters hailed the decision as a breakthrough as it comes after more than ten years of political controversy. The creation of the panel is part of a legal amendment that still needs final confirmation by parliament.

Tuesday’s discussions in the Senate focused on the role of the state and the private health sector as well as the funding of the panel of experts.

It is estimated that about 3,000 patients die in Swiss hospitals as a result of medical errors.

Medical devices

Meanwhile, parliament has decided to adapt Swiss law on medical devices and therapies to European Union regulations following several scandals about faulty implants and prosthetics.

Interior Minister Alain Berset, whose portfolio includes health matters, said the legal amendment will help ensure Swiss medical device producers maintain access to the EU market.

Exports to the 28-nation bloc are worth about CHF6 billion ($6 billion) annually. There are about 1,350 companies with more than 54,000 employees active in the sector of medical devices, including X-ray machines, blood pressure monitors, implants, glasses and adhesive bandages.

swissinfo.ch with SDA-ATS, SRF/ug

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