01.02.2010 At first hand
Editorial Salome von Greyerz. The first attempt to enact a «Federal Prevention Law» failed in 1982 before it even reached the parliamentary debate stage due to opposition from the cantons and trade associations. And even though significant progress has been achieved over the 25 years since then in the fields of substance-abuse policy or HIV prevention, the focus of health policy in this period has been primarily on curative medicine and the financing of the care systems.
The aging of the population and an increase in chronic diseases will bring a significant increase in the demand for healthcare services over the coming years and decades. At the same time, resources for curative medicine will start to run short. This means that efforts to maintain the health of the population through prevention, health promotion and early detection must be stepped up. However, for this to happen, these areas will need to have an adequate level of organisation. This is the only way to ensure that they will be able to help support the healthcare system as a «fourth pillar», alongside treatment, rehabilitation and care.
In September 2007, the Federal Council therefore adopted a proposal from the OECD and WHO and mandated the Federal Office of Public Health to develop a new legal framework for the areas of prevention, health promotion and early detection with a view to strengthening these areas and improving coordination and efficiency for their existing activities.
During the consultation phase in summer 2008, the enactment of a prevention law was clearly endorsed by the majority of cantons and other consulted parties. By contrast, critical comments on the new prevention law were received from some sectors of the economy, which view the existing legal framework as sufficient.
At the end of September 2009, the Federal Council handed over the draft federal law on prevention and health promotion and the corresponding bill to Parliament. The advisory commission of the National Council is expected to take up the discussion on the draft law after the spring 2010 session.
Salome von Greyerz
Co-Head of Division Multisectoral Projects
Head of Section Innovation Projects
Federal Office of Public Health