Healthcare policy

Healthcare policy focuses on public health and public healthcare provision. Access to prevention and early identification services and to appropriate healthcare for all sectors of the population is an important basic requirement. Further topics include quality assurance of the services provided and the financial viability, data situation and manageability of the healthcare system.


"When spectra first came out, it was all about sex and crime – HIV and heroin in other words."

Five questions for Christoph Hoigné. This summer the "spectra" newsletter will be celebrating its 20th birthday. The man who right from the word go has been responsible for editing and producing the magazine on behalf of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) is Christoph Hoigné, 48, a journalist and photographer from Berne. What are his thoughts on the past and the future of "spectra"? more


Support for professionals in the health service, education, social services and law enforcement who deal with people with addiction problems

Addiction questions in the front-line services. Every day, people from various public services come into contact with clients who are at risk of becoming addicted or are already addicted. How should they handle these clients? How should they address the addiction problem? How should they offer help, and in what form? The "Addiction questions in the front-line services" project investigates these questions and supports professionals who come into contact with people with addiction problems in their everyday work. more


Working together to create a society in which fewer people fall ill or die from the effects of smoking

National Tobacco Programme. On 9 May 2012, the Swiss Federal Council extended the National Tobacco Programme by a further four years to the end of 2016. This measure ensures that prevention activities already launched have a long-term effect. more


Reducing the negative effects of alcohol consumption for the individual and society as a whole

National Alcohol Programme. The second phase of the National Alcohol Programme (NPA) got under way in 2013 and will run until 2016. This year the focus has been on continuing and strengthening the alliance-based approach. more


The Swiss government is drawing up two forward-looking strategies for the prevention of addiction and non-communicable diseases

Strategies. Non-communicable diseases are currently the most common cause of deaths worldwide. According to the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, 74.6 percent of deaths among men and 75.9 percent among women in Switzerland in 2011 were due to four groups of non-communicable diseases: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and dementia. The Swiss government and the cantons are currently working together to draw up a national strategy for the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Tackling the phenomenon of addiction on a more comprehensive basis is the primary objective of the National Strategy on Addiction that is being drawn up in response to a mandate of the Swiss government, to be completed by spring 2015. The overriding goal is to secure a comprehensive and integrated package of addiction management services that includes medical care, harm reduction, counselling and treatment and promotes the social (re-)integration and health rehabilitation of addicts. The National Strategy on Addiction will guarantee continuity and also define a framework for action across all kinds of addiction. The two new strategies will replace the national programmes on alcohol, tobacco, drugs and diet & physical activity, which finish at the end of 2016. more


Work – a health risk

Work-related health problems. Road workers with damaged hearing, hairdressers with chemical allergies or carpenters with asbestos-impaired lungs: Suva (the Swiss Accident Insurance Fund) handles around 3000 such work-related insurance cases each year. In addition to these relatively clearly defined "occupational diseases", however, there are an infinitely larger number of dis­orders that are also – though not only – caused by work: "work-related health problems". Such physical and mental disorders, for instance stress and back pain, have increased massively in recent decades. Prevention of work-related health problems requires close cooperation between employers, prevention specialists and insurers. more


At first hand

Editorial Stefan Spycher. Being part of the working population is an important factor in the health of the individual. Paid work not only ensures financial independence; it also creates a sense of personal achievement, security and social integration. But work also entails health risks that go beyond established health protection measures at the workplace. The term "work-related health problems" covers disorders that are not actually caused by specific working conditions but are nonetheless more common among the working population. They include, for instance, musculoskeletal disorders, or symptoms that can result from constant stress. more


Advertising ban for tobacco and alcohol products protects public health

Lead article. Advertising persuades children and adolescents to take a positive view of alcohol and tobacco. It makes little difference whether or not the advertising message is aimed directly at them. Full-scale bans on advertising are politically controversial, but – if combined with other measures – they would afford better protection against the subtle influences and clever advertising strategies of tobacco and alcohol producers. In Switzerland, producers are subject to fewer restrictions than in other European countries. more


"Actively promote human and animal health and wellbeing."

Five questions for Hans Wyss. To further tighten the cooperation between the Federal Veterinary Office (FVO) and the Food Safety Division of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the Federal Council (Swiss government) decided in 2012 to merge the two. Subsequently the new Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) was created. It will be operational from January 2014 onwards and will be the centre of competency for food safety, nutrition, animal health, animal welfare as well as species and animal protection in international trade. more


Working together to improve employee health and physical activity

2013 annual conference. The 2013 annual conference of "actionsanté", which was held in Berne's Kursaal on 5 November, focused on cooperation between the authorities and the private sector to improve employee health and physical activity, and on the views of young people on health-related topics. more