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Plan to boost GP numbers to be put to a vote

Emergency help for GPs

(Keystone)

Voters will have the final say on a proposal to improve the salaries and prestige of general practitioners in a bid to increase their numbers.

Campaigners said they collected more than 200,000 signatures in five months – twice as much as necessary – to force the vote.

More than 3,000 new GPs are needed by 2016 to ensure basic healthcare services for the country, according to the promoters of the initiative.

No date for the vote has been set.

There is growing dissatisfaction in the profession about long working hours, the high amount of administration and lower pay compared with specialist doctors.

GPs make up about 30 per cent of doctors in Switzerland but most of them are nearing retirement age.

A year ago, an estimated 15,000 doctors took to the streets to fight a plan by the interior ministry to lower laboratory fees.

Attempts by parliament and the government to reduce spiraling costs in past two decades have had limited impact.

Switzerland has one of the best but also most expensive healthcare systems in the world.

Urs Geiser, swissinfo.ch and agencies


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