Health is not just about well-being, lightness of the body and uncomplicated thoughts. It is a whole philosophy. In Switzerland, they understand this better than anywhere else in the world. The combination of highly organized medical care, active recreation, and a developed tourist infrastructure enables citizens of the Confederation to enjoy life to the fullest. Our conversation with the Ambassador of Switzerland in Russia, Mr. Yves Rossier, touches on this and other subjects.
– Mr. Rossier, please tell me what the words «Swiss health» mean to you. What is the national understanding of a healthy lifestyle?
– First of all, it is a work-life balance. But rest is not the same as idleness. Most of my compatriots prefer an active lifestyle: mountain walks, cycling in the summer and skiing in the winter, hiking. Switzerland’s natural wonders make this possible.
Children are taught about active rest from childhood. Every weekend, in good weather, you can see hundreds of families enjoying the outdoors – ecological and agrarian tourism is extremely popular in my country. Many agricultural farms have created places that are interesting for children to visit. Here, the kids can see with their own eyes where fresh milk comes from and how chickens come into the world… and, of course, they can try the freshest natural products. The atmosphere in such farms enables children to get closer to nature and learn how to interact with the world around them.
But, of course, Switzerland is also known for its high-class recreation system – the famous five-star resorts offer everything that is necessary today for residents of megacities to restore and maintain their health.
– Switzerland’s health system, according to the WHO, is considered one of the best in the world and Swiss life expectancy is one of the highest. Do you think this is due to Swiss medicine or there is some other specific feature of life in this country?
– Switzerland’s healthcare system is a unique combination of universal compulsory health insurance and a market-based approach to health care. This solution provides citizens of the country with access to a wide range of medical services.
Of course, my compatriots’ confidence in the future also makes itself felt. The ability to remain neutral in politics is a kind of art that the Swiss authorities are very good at. It allows the best possible cultivation of stability in society, especially in the social sphere. Switzerland is human- centered; it is a balanced, calm, and well-functioning country. There is a good reason for its being one of the three leaders of the Human Development Index – in third place after Norway and Australia.
An active and balanced lifestyle and regular monitoring of health are the factors that affect duration and quality of life in Switzerland. The clinics are clearly patient-oriented, which means that every person’s needs are important to the staff and management of the hospital.
– What areas of medicine, in your opinion, are the leading ones?
– I believe that it is appropriate to talk about neurosurgery, cardiosurgery, oncology, orthopaedics, plastic and reconstructive surgery… a key feature of Swiss medicine is diagnostics. Our country is also one of the world leaders in the production of medicines.
All medical facilities are equipped with the most modern equipment and the latest methods of treatment are used. At the same time, the clinics are exceptionally comfortable and cozy. Here, everything is aimed at creating the most comfortable conditions for patients, thanks to which thousands of foreigners come to us to undergo treatment every year.
– Swiss doctors are rightfully considered some of the best. How is it possible to maintain such a high level of quality in your medical personnel?
– The fact is that every specialist is under the constant monitoring of an organization such as the Swiss Association of Doctors, and must prove their level of professionalism annually. This guarantees that every practicing doctor remains highly qualified.
In addition, continuity and the principle of progressive development are facets of the professionalism of Swiss doctors.
– There is an opinion that Swiss medicine is available only to very rich people from abroad. Do you share this view?
– On one hand, there is some truth in this. The services of private clinics are expensive, but their quality justifies their cost. On the other hand, our doctors help people around the world, actively participating in charitable projects which they consider as their duty. For example, they conduct consultations and operations and share knowledge where necessary to raise the level of local medical staff. In addition, knowing about the very high level of Swiss medicine, foreign patients come to the country to get a «second opinion». In many cases, this service helps save lives and helps doctors make the correct diagnosis and choose the right method of treatment.
– So, in your opinion, what is the secret of Swiss medicine? The high level of professionalism? Equipment? Traditions?
– Not only these factors. Another feature of Swiss medicine is the cooperation of private (40%) and public (60%) medical institutions, which has made the treatment of many diseases more effective and less expensive. Certainly, these incorporate a comfortable environment, privacy of service, and an individual approach to each patient. Among the competitive advantages of our clinics is the use of robotic equipment, the latest developments in unique medical equipment, and our developed and advanced pharmacological industry. In the World Health Organization ranking, Switzerland is second after the United States in terms of confidentiality and timeliness of medical care, and health expenditure in Switzerland is 11.5% of GDP – a considerable amount.
So, thanks to all these factors, in 2010 we launched a proactive state program to support and develop Swiss medicine in the world, creating a number of associations and companies that promote the Swiss medical brand.