Call to action

The development of the Swiss Hospitals for Equity Network is an important step towards eliminating health care disparities in Switzerland and an important reminder to health policy makers and practitioners across the health care system of their responsibility to provide non-discriminatory, quality health care to all patients.

With 4 national languages and 23% foreigners, Switzerland has long been characterized by sociocultural and linguistic diversity. Swiss health care institutions are challenged by increasingly diverse patient populations and a diverse workforce. In an effort to achieve equity in health care, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has promoted the development of centers of excellence capable of identifying and addressing the needs of diverse patient populations.

In September 2013 and on the occasion of the first national conference of the Swiss Migrant Friendly Hospitals, the network members urged new partners to join them to work towards equity in health care by responding to a Call to Action. Health care institutions were invited to consider what they could do to ensure access to health care for all patients, provide effective communication across language barriers, strengthen the cross-cultural competence of health care professionals and promote research on diversity-related topics.