Preserving health and hospitality: Innovative Pop-Up Emergency Centre aims to attract GPS

  08.12.2023 Local News, Healthcare, Rumour Has It, NewsUpdate

Gstaad is gearing up for a proactive winter as the Saanenland region unveils plans for a pop-up emergency centre, offering an incentive for General Practitioners (GPs). This innovative solution, initiated by Gesundheit Simme Saane AG, aims to alleviate the burden on local doctors during the winter influx of holiday guests. The project is set to run from Christmas until the end of March 2024 and involves a pop-up emergency station at the Madora practice in Gstaad.

As the Saanenland prepares for an influx of holiday guests during the upcoming winter season, local health organisation Gesundheit Simme Saane AG (GSS) announces a strategic initiative to support local General Practitioners (GPs). In a bid to address the additional strain on healthcare professionals, a pop-up emergency centre is set to operate from 23 December to 31 March 2024, at the Madora practice in Gstaad.

The Saanenland region experiences a surge in tourism during the winter months. While this benefits local businesses and the hospitality sector, it places an extra load on the already stretched healthcare resources. Recognising this challenge, GSS has taken the lead in implementing a pilot project to attract GPs to the region, providing a much-needed respite for local doctors during weekends.

Managing Director, Alexander Gäumann, GSS, highlights the importance of the project, stating, “Every doctor in the canton of Bern is required to participate in the emergency service, but it’s not a popular duty among medical professionals. Therefore, it is crucial to offer attractive conditions to lure GPs to the Saanenland.”

The unique proposition for outof-town GPs involves a weekend emergency service from Saturday morning at eight o’clock until the following Monday morning at eight o’clock. In return, the participating doctors will have the opportunity to enjoy the diverse range of sports and leisure activities available in the region during the subsequent week. The offer includes a fixed remuneration of CHF 1000 per working day, along with additional incentives such as a weekly ski pass, indoor swimming pool entry, and a complimentary Gstaad Card for free use of public transport.

Saanen councillor Petra Schläppi emphasises the commitment to providing comfortable accommodation for participating doctors, stating, “We provide the GPs with a municipal, furnished 3½-room flat in Schönried, which they can use from Friday to Friday.”

External doctors are being sought from the Medical District Association of Thun and the surrounding area to ensure the success of the initiative. Gäumann highlights two conditions for recruitment: the doctors must hold a license to practice in the Canton of Bern and possess professional experience as GPs.

The project, supported by financial contributions from the municipalities of Gsteig, Lauenen, and Saanen, aims to operate the emergency centre with external doctors and Medical Practice Assistants (MPAs) on as many weekends as possible. Gäumann emphasises the positive impact, stating, “Every weekend we cover in this way relieves the pressure on our GPs and their practice teams.“

While this pop-up emergency centre serves as a short-term solution to address the immediate need for additional medical support, the long-term goal remains the establishment of a central emergency centre, ideally in or near Zweisimmen Hospital. The Saanenland region, with its forward-thinking approach, aims to ensure the health and well-being of both residents and visitors, setting an example for innovative healthcare solutions in Alpine destinations.


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