General

Swiss emergency medicine head warns of system collapse amid ‘unprecedented workload’

Emergency medicine in Switzerland is at breaking point, warned Vincent Ribordy, the head of the Swiss Society for Emergency and Rescue Medicine.

"The current extent of the workload is unprecedented," he told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper. According to the medical expert, there is a lack of personnel above all.

Life-threatening injuries could be treated, "but we need to triage more," Ribordy added.

The constant pressure is draining the staff that is still available, he said. "They are tired and exhausted, they drop out more, and the risk for mistakes increases," the emergency medicine physician said.

"It can't go on like this," he warned. "We are on the verge of collapse."

In addition to a higher risk of errors, the current situation leads to sometimes undignified treatment of patients, long waiting times and an increase in mortality and morbidity, Ribordy lamented.

In some cases, anesthesia can only be administered with nitrous oxide or opioids because there is a lack of trained personnel for anesthesia. The employees are demotivated, have psychological problems or even a burnout, and therefore turn their backs on the profession, Ribordy continued.

He called for a change in patient thinking: "People need to realize that they don't have to come to us for every little thing, but in many cases pharmacies, primary care physicians and permanence practices can help." Restricting access for emergencies could also help, he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency