Doctors in Switzerland increasingly swamped by admin work

Less hands-on treatment, more documents: the workload of doctors is changing. Keystone

Swiss doctors are spending less time with their patients and more time with their paperwork, according to a study released on Monday by the Federation of Swiss Doctors.

This content was published on January 8, 2018 - 15:38 and agencies

Across all branches of medicine doctors are less present than before at the bedside of patients: physical therapists and psychiatrists spend a third of their time directly with patients; for rehabilitation specialists, this figure falls to a fifth.

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The reason is primarily administrative work. For example, hospital doctors working on acute physical treatment spend on average 112 minutes a day drafting and documenting patient dossiers, about 19% of total worktime.

This marks an increase of almost half an hour from 2011 figures.

For those working in psychiatry and rehabilitation, the trends have been similar; they now spend 15% and 18% of their time on administrative tasks respectively, also up from before.

The study also showed that although those most affected by the trend towards more admin are assistant doctors, the increase travels up the hierarchy and also has an impact on chief physicians.

Despite this – and despite the level of overtime being worked by doctors remaining high at 7.4 hours weekly – doctors reported healthy levels of workplace satisfaction. GPs reported an 87% satisfaction rate, while the figure for psychiatrists and hospital doctors was 80%.

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