The popular initiative “For strong nursing care”, accepted on November 28, 2021 by 61% of the votes, calls in particular for a sufficient number of qualified nurses to be trained. Provision is also made for them to be able to bill certain services directly to compulsory health insurance or other social insurance.
These two points, little contested, were also part of the indirect counter-project to the initiative concocted by the parliament. They will therefore be resumed quickly, without a new consultation procedure, announces the Federal Council. Parliament will be able to quickly begin debates on a bill.
Because it is necessary to rapidly increase the number of nurses and graduate nurses, continues the government. The proportion of older people is increasing, and so is the need for care and professional support. Already today, hospitals and health care establishments are struggling to recruit enough qualified nurses.
A billion for training
The Confederation and the cantons will have to support nursing training for eight years to the tune of almost CHF 1 billion. Contributions intended for health institutions for their work related to the practical training of qualified nursing staff are planned.
Colleges and universities of applied sciences should also receive funds when they increase their training capacities. As for people who follow care training at a college or a specialized college, they should be able to benefit from financial support if necessary.
Working conditions in question
On the other hand, the government is procrastinating on the issue of nurses’ working conditions and appropriate remuneration. Today, this aspect is mainly the responsibility of the cantons, companies and social partners, as well as service providers and funders of the health system, recalls the government.
The Federal Council has instructed the Federal Office of Public Health to clarify the powers for further work, in collaboration with the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the State Secretariat for Training and the Federal Office for Justice.
These aspects had not been retained in the Parliament’s counter-project, a majority of the right and of the center opposing it. During the voting campaign on the initiative, the government and the committee of opponents warned that the Confederation could not intervene on the working conditions or wages of a specific socio-professional category.