Budapest Commitments – Switzerland

Esther Schmidlin and fellow members of the board of directors of ‘palliative ch’ contribute to our series of posts on the Budapest Commitments

Swiss national palliative care association

When the idea to participate in the Budapest Commitments emerge at the EAPC congress in 2007, the board members of our national association, palliative ch, decided to focus on the development of comprehensive education of palliative care in Switzerland. Within the context of the ‘Swiss National Strategy’, many of the set objectives have been pursued, achieved and even exceeded.

Three major outcome
1.  The three EAPC levels of education were subdivided into five levels (A1, A2, B1, B2, C), to create more clearly differentiated levels of competencies for educators as well as learners.

2.  A detailed survey of each medical school was conducted to map out the palliative care content against the EAPC recommendations. Since then, some palliative care contents have been integrated into the undergraduate medical education. At the University of Basel, a palliative care curriculum has been established based on EAPC recommendations, spanning almost all six years of education. Under the ‘National Strategy for Palliative Care’ of the Swiss government, a national working group now redefines and establishes palliative care content within medical education in all universities. There is discussion with the government and other stakeholders to establish new academic chairs for palliative care as well as for spiritual care.

3.  A catalogue describing the competencies of palliative care specialists (level B2) has been developed and has just been published by SwissEduc, the national education taskforce of palliative ch. You can download a copy from their website. The catalogue systematically maps out what is necessary in terms of knowledge, skills, and capabilities for medical and nursing professionals as well as for professionals in the psychosocial field. In order to convey an image of palliative care practice in Switzerland that accurately reflects reality, the DACUM method (Developing a curriculum) was utilised to create the catalogue. It therefore reflects the specialists’ actual daily activities, rather than an idealised version of their work. Its implementation will facilitate the design of programmes by postgraduate educators, and will clarify learning objectives for the students. Within the field of quality management, it helps by more precisely defining the tasks and working standards for each occupation. It is currently available in French and German. More information is provided on the EAPC website.

Much has been achieved over the past years and work is ongoing within the context of the ‘Swiss National Strategy for Palliative Care’. The physician group is working on achieving the recognition of a ‘certificate of competencies’ for palliative care physicians and also crusades for the integration of palliative care competencies into the education of all medical specialties. SwissEduc is planning to develop the competency catalogues for Grades A1, A2 and B1. Other working groups are focusing on financing, research and public awareness of palliative care.

It is a busy time for the development of palliative care in Switzerland; as in other countries most work is being done on a voluntary basis. But all these efforts will certainly help to further palliative care’s standing as a specialised field.

To find out more…
More information can be found here as well as on the website of the Swiss government (available in German, French and Italian) or from

Share your story…
We’d like to hear how other national organisations are implementing the goals they set themselves back in 2007. Dr David Oliver (UK) and Dr Michaela Bercowitz (Israel), board members of the EAPC, are currently collating information about the Budapest Commitments and urgently need your help. Information is for eventual publication, including this blog, and for the 13th World Congress of the European Association for Palliative Care in Prague 2013.

To contribute, or for more information, please contact Dr David Oliver.

COMING UP… Later this week we’ll look at how Albania has kept its promise to the Budapest Commitments and in the coming weeks we hope to hear from many more countries

This entry was posted in EAPC Board Members, EDUCATION & TRAINING, NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL REPORTS and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Budapest Commitments – Switzerland

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