Doctors demand action not "blabla"

Swiss junior and hospital doctors say they have had enough of words and now want action to improve their working conditions.

This content was published on November 25, 1999 - 17:22

Swiss junior and hospital doctors say they have had enough of words and now want action to improve their working conditions.

They made the call at a news conference in Berne, a year after doctors in Zurich hospitals staged a protest by refusing to do their paper work.

“This ‘pre-industrial’ working situation, coupled with increasing economic pressure, has become an explosive cocktail for our members,“ said Dr. Marcus Battaglia, co-president of the Swiss Association of Junior and Senior Doctors.

The association points out that working up to 70 hours per week is not only dangerous for hospital doctors but also for the patients.

“Tired doctors are not in a position…to draw the right conclusions. The consequences are not only unnecessary tests, but also false diagnoses, which can lead to a wrong treatment,“ said Dr. Dominik Utiger from the association’s central committee.

The doctors are calling for a maximum working week of 50 hours in all cantons or at least plans which aim at this target. They also want their contracts to be submitted to Switzerland’s labour law and they want a bigger say in the re-organisation of work in hospitals.

Canton Appenzell Ausser-Rhoden was praised by the association because the 50-hour working week will become reality there. A collective contract for canton Berne also appears to be an acceptable solution and earlier this week, a deal for doctors in canton Zurich was put on the table.

However, in the French-speaking part of the country -- and particularly canton Valais -- the situation is said to be less rosy.

“In a large number of cantons, junior and senior hospital doctors are still awaiting the results of negotiations and they now want to see something concrete after so much discussion,“ said Battaglia.

From staff and wire reports.

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