EXPLAINED: How are hospitals in Switzerland handling non-coronavirus patients?

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EXPLAINED: How are hospitals in Switzerland handling non-coronavirus patients?

For the past several weeks, Swiss hospitals have concentrated on treating coronavirus patients. So what happens to people who don’t have Covid-19 but need urgent care for other ailments?


Are Swiss hospitals still treating patients with non-coronavirus-related ailments?

Even in the midst of coronavirus crisis, people still get sick with other illnesses and may require urgent care.

And while it might seem that hospitals are handling only Covid-19 patients, to the exclusion of everyone else, medical facilities have adopted a system ensuring help for all types of health emergencies.

This new system is based on reorganization of the hospital services and pooling of resources to provide care for all who need it.


How and where are non-Covid-19 patients treated?

While public hospitals in Switzerland are now focusing on patients infected with the coronavirus, heath authorities have recruited private clinics to provide other kinds of urgent care.

For instance, in Geneva the hospital of La Tour, along with several other private clinics, is treating non-Covid-19 health emergencies.

"In terms of quantity and influx of patients, this is something new for us. We must adapt to the arrival of patients who present serious emergencies", Alain Younossian, La Tour’s chief medical officer for intensive care told RTS television.

In Fribourg, the private Daler Hospital is treating general urgent cases, while its neighbour, Fribourg Cantonal Hospital (HFR), is focusing on Covid-19.

The same system is operating throughout the country, with private medical centres dealing with general medical emergencies that would normally be handled by public hospitals.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Private clinics in Switzerland to relieve pressure on public hospitals 



Who will be paying for emergency treatment in private clinics?

Normally, only people who have taken out supplementary private coverage in addition to the compulsory insurance (LAMAL), can be treated in private hospitals. 

But given the special circumstances, there is no longer any insurance distinction for patient care during the coronavirus crisis. Even those who only have the basic coverage will be treated at no extra charge to them.


What should I do if I have a health emergency not related to Covid-19?

The phone number for general medical emergencies in Switzerland is 144, which functions around the clock. The operator will decide whether you need an ambulance, and to which medical facility you will be taken.

For questions relating to coronavirus, the number is 058 463 00 00.

READ MORE: How are Swiss hospitals adjusting to the soaring number of coronavirus patients 




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