Swiss doctors spend only one-third of their time with patients

Due to ever-increasing administrative tasks, Swiss hospital doctors only spend 34 percent of their time treating patients, a report has found.

Swiss doctors spend only one-third of their time with patients
Photo: Depositphotos

The report, released Monday by the Society for Social Research in Bern (GFS Bern), made several findings relating to working conditions in Swiss hospitals as well as job satisfaction among medical professionals. 

The major finding was the increase in administrative tasks, which now forms a much more significant part of a doctor’s day than it did compared to the previous survey, conducted in 2011. 

Administrative tasks have risen for hospital doctors in each category. 

While doctors in acute somatic care spent an average of 86 minutes completing administrative tasks in 2011, this had risen to 119 minutes in 2019. 

Similarly doctors in rehabilitation now spend 118 minutes per day performing administrative tasks, up from 82 minutes in 2012. 

Psychiatric care doctors also saw their administrative time rise from 64 to 76 minutes per day. 

When paired with other tasks which eat into the day, n average doctors in all categories spend 34 percent of their time with patients. 

Job satisfaction

Doctors in Switzerland are satisfied with their work, with over 90 percent saying they find it interesting and varied. This has decreased slightly over the past decade. 

A clear majority also told surveyors that they are happy with the remuneration they receive for their work. 

The report was completed from a study of 1572 doctors in the summer of 2020 across Switzerland. 

READ: Will Geneva's health insurance premiums ever stop rising? 

READ: How Swiss residents are 'paying too much' for medicines and health insurance premiums 


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Can I have a fire in my backyard or courtyard in Switzerland?

The winter months are on their way and the weather is getting colder. If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard, can you light a fire?

White marshmallows toast over a fire
If you want to toast marshmallows in your backyard in Switzerland this winter, first make sure it's OK. Photo by Leon Contreras on Unsplash

Even if you own a property, the rules for what you can and cannot do in Switzerland can be relatively restrictive. 

As we covered in the following article, laws or tenancy rules can prevent you from doing several types of activities in your own backyard, including felling trees or washing your car. 

You can also be prevented from certain activities on particular days. For instance, rules, bylaws and tenancy arrangements may prevent you from mowing your lawn or hanging out your laundry on a Sunday. 

READ MORE: What am I allowed to do in my backyard or apartment courtyard in Switzerland?

As the weather gets colder, you might be tempted to stock up the fire pit, fire basket or fire bowl with wood and set it alight. 

The rules for lighting fires are also relatively complex. What you are allowed to do will depend on your canton, your tenancy arrangement and the type of fire. 

Can I light a fire on my own property in Switzerland? 

If you’re living in one of the few Swiss houses to have a fireplace, then you are presumably allowed to use it, unless tenancy regulations prevent it at certain times. 

You are also usually allowed to have a barbecue or grill either on your balcony or in your backyard, provided the noise and smoke is not excessive. 

READ MORE: Can I have a barbecue on my balcony in Switzerland?

Whether or not you are allowed to have a fire in your backyard however will depend on the rules in your canton. 

You are generally prohibited from burning any waste in Switzerland, other than typical forest or garden waste (i.e. wood, grass, twigs, sticks and leaves). 

That however can also be restricted at certain times of the year.

In Zurich, for instance, fires in backyards are only permitted from March to October, meaning that you will need to find other ways to stay warm in the winter months in Switzerland’s most populous canton. 

Even if lighting fires is permitted, you may want to check with the rules of your rental contract to see if you are technically allowed a fire. 

What about fires in the forest or open parks? 

A campfire might also sound like a nice way to spend a winter evening, but this may be restricted or completely prohibited depending on the circumstance. 

There is no federal ban on fires in forests and other outdoor areas, provided you are not burning waste (other than garden waste etc) and you are not producing excessive emissions. 

The rules are the same on August 1st, Swiss National Day, where special bonfires usually require a permit. 

Note that there are special rules for burning old Christmas trees, which is prevented by law.