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Swiss health workers mobilise for quality health and better working conditions

24 November 2016

The PSI affiliate Syndicat Suisse des Services Publics (SSP), is campaigning for the Quality of Care Over Profitability in Switzerland. This is a struggle against the 2012 Health Insurance Act which institutionalised the commercialisation and outsourcing of healthcare delivery.

Public healthcare delivery and workers who provide these services have faced a series of attacks in Europe and all over the world. Austerity measures with cuts in public funding of health has resulted in a loss of jobs and an increase in precarious working conditions. Commercialisation of health has impacted adversely on the quality of health services. But workers are rallying against this anti-poor people reality, fighting to change it. A mass rally of health workers was held in Paris on 8 November.

The PSI affiliate Syndicat Suisse des Services Publics (SSP), is campaigning for the Quality of Care Over Profitability in Switzerland. This is a struggle against the 2012 Health Insurance Act which institutionalised the commercialisation and outsourcing of healthcare delivery.

SSP kicked off the campaign with a national day of mobilisation on 3 November. Across the length and breadth of Switzerland, different forms of awareness-generating manifestations were organised. There were major rallies in Zurich and Lausanne. In other cities and towns, health workers put up tents and stalls in front of hospitals, handing out flyers to patients and other members of the public within the vicinity. These highlighted the dangers privatisation poses to qualitative healthcare delivery, and called for collective action.

In a press statement, signed by Beatriz Rosende and Elvira Wiegers, central secretaries of the union, SSP pointed out that the health of healthcare workers have been stretched to the limits due to outsourcing and other measures taken by health authorities to increase “productivity”, as if healthcare delivery was a commodity. This has led many workers in the hospitals to abandon their professions for other endeavours. Meanwhile, there is a shortage of 10,000 health professionals every year. This is aggravated by the anti-immigration policies of the Swiss state.

Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, said:

“The 2012 health reform in Switzerland is in line with the dominant narrative that private sector ethos of profitability should be brought to bear on every aspect of social life. But this only leads to worsening standards of living and increasing inequality. Universal access to public services such as health is crucial for sustaining social justice, and this requires adequate funding which centres on quality, putting people before profit. PSI stands with our Swiss sisters and brothers in this struggle. Their fight against this reform known as “H+” is part of the expanding struggle for the respect of the right to health as a human right across the world. By December, PSI will launch the Global Human Right to Health (HR2H) Campaign to bring our different efforts together and ensure that we are stronger in fighting to win access to quality health for all, and better working conditions for health workers.”

The SSP campaign’s online petition has gathered tens of thousands of signatures in support of the struggle of our sisters and brothers in Switzerland. Take a minute to lend your voice in calling for quality care over profitability and for better working conditions for health workers. Sign the petition.

 

 

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