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For many people, health is the most important commodity of all. Comparative studies show that Switzerland has a high-quality healthcare system. However, this quality has its price: Switzerland also occupies a top position in terms of healthcare costs. Rising expenditure is, therefore, usually one of the most pressing concerns in surveys.


Minor operations have been performed in the Inselspital since the Middle Ages. However, it was not until the course of the 19th century that surgeons learned to successfully treat numerous injuries and diseases through surgery. Today, many operations are routine but costly, for understandable reasons: Several experts are involved, and complex medical technology and consumables are necessary. In the meantime, certain procedures are only performed on an outpatient basis, in order to reduce costs.


Today, complex medical devices are indispensable for diagnosis and therapy. However, it was not until the second half of the 20th century that they became part of the daily routine in hospital. On the one hand, purchasing the devices was expensive, on the other hand, they simplified interventions and thus shortened the stay.


In the early modern period, most doctors and surgeons bought their own instruments and use them throughout their careers. Today, modern medicine is very material-intensive. Instruments, dressings, masks and clothing are often used only once or need to be replaced regularly. Disposable material has been in use since the 1960s, for hygienic reasons – and not least to save costs.


In 2021, Inselspital announced the abolition of bonuses. The remuneration for the cadre of medical doctors is now only based on fixed salary components. The hospital wants to eliminate disincentives and create transparency. Wages and especially the wage differences between the various occupational groups in the health care sector lead to discussions time and again.


In 2018, Swiss healthcare costs amounted to more than CHF 80,000 million. Today, the Inselspital is financed by health insurance companies, the state and patients. The system, with different actors only emerged in the 20th century. Until the French Revolution, the Inselspital financed free nursing care as an independent foundation through the proceeds from goods, money and goods in kind.