Fewer inpatients were treated in Swiss hospitals in 2017. This is the first time that the number of hospital admittances has declined since records began.
In all, one million people, or 12% of the population, stayed as an inpatient in one of Switzerland’s 281 hospitals or birthing centres. The decline recorded was small, but the first once since 1998, the Federal Statistical Office said on Fridayexternal link.
As some patients were treated multiple times, the number of actual inpatient stays was 1.5 million, like in 2016. The number of days of inpatient treatment dropped from 11.8 million in 2016 to 11.6 in 2017.
Outpatient costs up
The cost of inpatient care, however, remained stable at CHF18.8 billion ($18.8 billion) last year.
Outpatient cost rose by almost 5.5% to CHF7.8 billion. There were also 18.6 million outpatient consultations for 4 million people, a rise of 1.5% in outpatient services on 2016.
Treatment costs have remained stable since 2015: the average inpatient treatment came to CHF13,000.
Topping the list for reasons to go to hospital were injuries due to accidents, followed by musculoskeletal problems (more women) and cardiovascular illnesses (more men). There were more than 100,000 hospitalisations for mental or behaviour disorders, with the biggest part due to depression, the statistical office added.
Expensive, but good
Switzerland is known to have a good health care system, but it is one of the most expensive in the world. The country spends around 12.3% of its gross domestic productexternal link (GDP) on healthcare. This puts it below the United States (17.2%) but ahead of Germany and France (11.3% and 11.5% respectively) The OECD averageexternal link is around 9%.
In summer it was revealed that the Swiss spend more from their own pockets for health care than any other nation, according to a survey for the price comparison website Comparis.
The price watchdog has also flagged up growing healthcare expenses as an area of major concern and has called for more transparency in the sector.