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Swiss hospitals reportedly running out of money

Hospitals are battling to cope with coronavirus, and now they are under financial pressure as well. (Keystone)

Cash-strapped Swiss hospitals, in the front line of the fight against coronavirus, are calling for financial help and an end to the ban on non-emergency procedures which has sapped revenue, reports the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

It quotes the director of Valais Hospital Hugo Burgener as saying “we need liquidity to pay salaries”, and writes that the Graubünden cantonal hospital will also have to raise an additional CHF20 million ($20 million) in the next few days.

Other clinics with empty coffers are reporting to the H+ Swiss Hospitalsexternal link association, to which 220 Swiss hospitals are affiliated, according to the paper. The federal government’s ban on scheduled non-emergency procedures during the crisis has led to “considerable losses in earnings, which in turn have an impact on liquidity,” says H+ spokeswoman Dorit Djelid.

“We are clarifying with the Federal Office of Public Health whether a gradual relaxation can be envisaged,” she told the paper, which says this is likely to depend on when the peak of the pandemic is reached.

Revenue has also been lost because the ski resorts are closed and so no skiing accident victims are reporting to emergency wards.

At the same time, hospital spending has risen sharply to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.  Intensive care units have had to increase the number of beds with ventilators, requiring new walls to be built and rooms adapted, while the cost of protective material has exploded.

Cantons have started to support their hospitals with bridging loans, according to the paper. Meanwhile, the federal government, cantons and hospitals are discussing how the coronavirus services will be paid for.

Full story here
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