Switzerland’s health system is rated highly by the public, according to the latest survey conducted in eleven countries by the Commonwealth Fund Foundation.
Every 3 years, the Foundation conducts a survey of the general population in eleven countries to investigate experiences of the health system.
88% of the 2,284 people surveyed across all of Switzerland rated the overall performance of Switzerland’s health system as good or very good. These results ranked Switzerland in first place, ahead of Norway and Germany on this measure.
The percentage of those rating Swiss healthcare good or very good was considerably higher among those aged 65 and older (95%) than in younger age groups. It also varied by language region. The proportion from Italian-speaking Switzerland rating health system performance as good or very good was only 67%, compared with 91% in German‑speaking Switzerland and 86% in French-speaking Switzerland.
Most reported being healthy
91% in Switzerland described their health as good, very good or excellent. On this measure Switzerland ranked first alongside New Zealand and Australia.
At the same time 49% reported suffering from one or more chronic diseases. This percentage was higher than in 2016 (48%) and 2010 (44%). 73% of people over 65 reported a chronic disease, while 30% of those aged 18-34 did. The most common diseases were high blood pressure, mental health problems and lung disease.
Health system issues
Those with mental health issues reported difficulty accessing help in Switzerland. Around 15% reported that they had wished to see a health professional about their mental health in the last 12 months but only 44% had received advice or treatment. 56% of the those reporting mental health issues had not received treatment.
In addition, 23% reported unmet health care needs such as consultations, treatments or medication due to costs. Numerous respondents reported that they had preferred to wait and see whether their symptoms subsided on by themselves, or that they had not considered a medical treatment necessary.
Unmet health care needs due to costs have risen sharply in the last 10 years, particularly among persons with tertiary educational qualifications. One possible explanation for this trend is a growing awareness of the cost-benefit considerations. One way to reduce the cost of compulsory health insurance in Switzerland is to opt for a high deductible. This then means you pay out of pocket, which acts as a major disincentive to visit a doctor in a place where healthcare is costly.
One third in Switzerland reported financial concerns. 35% reported being sometimes, usually or always concerned about being unable to pay their rent or mortgage, or worried about their income. Only the US had a larger percentage reporting financial concerns. This question was asked in connection with mental health and healthcare inequality.