Top doctors warn government of collapse of hospital system

Hospital directors fear that there will be a third wave after Christmas. Keystone / Gaetan Bally

Representatives of five university hospitals have sent a warning to Health Minister Alain Berset about overburdened medical institutions due to the influx of Covid-19 patients.

This content was published on December 13, 2020 - 10:51

On Sunday, the SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported that the doctors had sent Berset a joint letter expressing "great concern about the current situation”. They wrote that beds in intensive care units are becoming scarce and nursing staff have reached breaking point. In addition, more than 4,000 operations have been postponed in these university hospitals since October. 

“Ethical questions are going to arise," warned Uwe E. Jocham, director of the Inselspital in the Swiss capital Bern. 

Hospital directors fear that there will be a third wave after Christmas and that the hospital system will collapse. They are therefore calling for stricter intervention by the governing Federal Council. At the Zurich University Hospital there are only three free beds left in the intensive care unit, they say. Their views were echoed by three of Zurich canton’s chief doctors in the NZZ am Sonntag paper.

"The health care system is already overburdened. For weeks now," said Urs Karrer, chief physician at the Winterthur Cantonal Hospital, Huldrych Günthard, professor of infectious diseases at Zurich University Hospital, and Gerhard Eich, chief infectious diseases specialist at the Triemli Hospital.

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