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.
Editorial Stefan Spycher. In January 2013, the Swiss government approved a health-policy agenda not previously seen in this form in Switzerland. "Health2020" presents the first-ever comprehensive strategy for the Swiss healthcare system. It identifies the challenges facing the healthcare system and defines the health-policy goals resulting from these challenges, and the measures that will have to be adopted between now and 2020. The aim is to enhance quality of life and equality of opportunity for the population as a whole, promote standards of healthcare delivery and further improve the transparency and manageability of the system. more
Non-communicable diseases. Cancer, cardiovascular diseases or diabetes mellitus: non-communicable diseases are now the number-one cause of death all over the world. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan described the spread of these diseases as a "slow motion disaster" and one of the biggest health challenges of the future. more
Public-health ethics. Despite their community focus, public-health institutions must never lose sight of the needs of the individual. Measures that benefit society can harm the individual. There again, behaviour that is harmful to health can cause additional economic burdens that have to be borne by society as a whole. But which principles need to be respected when we are weighing up harm against benefit, community wellbeing against that of the individual? The answer has to lie in the ethics of public health. more
Editorial Salome von Greyerz. Unlike medical ethics, which are concerned with ethical dilemmas relating to the treatment of individual patients, public health ethics apply to the health sector as a whole. They constitute a basis for ethical judgements of measures taken by health authorities or private health institutions rather than on the actions of individuals such as doctors or nursing staff. more
"In the end, the Act foundered because of the government spending 'brake' mechanism, even though the bill itself enjoyed majority support."
Five questions for Felix Gutzwiller. The planned Prevention Act was definitively rejected by a small majority of votes at the end of September when the Council of States refused to loosen the spending "brake" mechanism (to allow redistribution of federal funds). The opponents of the Prevention Act feared new regulations, growing state interventionism and loss of cantonal power. We asked Felix Gutzwiller – professor of medicine, expert on prevention and FDP (Free Democratic Party) representative for Zurich on the Council of States – for his views on the background to this development. more
eHealth. The Swiss eHealth Strategy is designed to improve the safety and quality of the Swiss healthcare system by linking up all the relevant players and their IT systems with each other and enabling them to access patient data whenever it is needed. For patients this means: "My healthcare data. Available whenever and wherever it is required." more
Projects of the National Programme Alcohol. Within the framework of the National Programme Alcohol a total of twenty alcohol prevention projects financed or co-financed by the federal government have been realised or initiated in the last one and a half years. Some of them focus on alcohol consumption in the workplace and on protecting the children of alcoholic parents. This issue of spectra outlines three of the projects. more
Editorial Dr. med. Adrian Jaggi. Our healthcare system is facing a range of different challenges, for instance the need to continue securing high-quality yet affordable healthcare provision for the entire population against a backdrop of steadily expanding medical options and growing care requirements of an ageing population. Increased cooperation between different healthcare professionals generates innovative approaches to problem-solving, a development in which the rapid availability of diagnostic and therapeutic data is of great importance. more
National prevention programmes. The Swiss government has prolonged the national prevention programmes on tobacco, alcohol and diet & physical activity by four years until 2016. more
"Prevention measures always require careful weighing up of the demands of health protection and economic freedom."
Ursula Koch answers five questions. The Swiss government has prolonged the national prevention programmes on diet & physical activity, alcohol and tobacco until 2016. What does Ursula Koch, joint head of the National Prevention Programmes Division of the Federal Office of Public Health, think of this decision and of the role of prevention in our society? more