Green light to use the army as support staff in hospitals

VOTE

The Council of States and the National team have also approved the Government’s proposal to field up to 2,500 soldiers to support service in favour of hospitals if required.

 Green light to use the army as support staff in hospitals
Green light for the use of the army in hospitals

Green light to use the army as support staff in hospitals

Green light for the use of the army in hospitals

The vote of the Council of States and the National team was approved with 147 votes and 31 abstentions favouring the Government's proposal to employ up to 2,500 soldiers in support service until March 31, 2021. Several cantons were severely tested by the second pandemic wave and the request was put forward at the end of October.

With the principle of subsidiarity, enshrined in military law (LM) the army can only intervene in support at the request of the cantonal or federal civil authorities and if civilian means are no longer sufficient, recalled Federal Councilor Viola Amherd.

The latter then underlined that there are many lessons learned from the first wave and that ten cantons have applied for the support. The currently employed soldiers are 650, in the cantons of Friborg, Geneva, Valais, Bern, Vaud, Ticino and Basel-Stadt, she added. It appears that the costs can be accounted for in the budget of the Department of Defense and Civil Protection (DDPS).

As in the Chamber of Cantons, the National team also asked the Left to discuss a proposal from the left to extend aid to nursing homes and homes for the elderly, as requested by various organizations in the sector. Léonore Porchet (Verdi / VD) said that the situation of staff in retirement homes is extremely tense and volunteers, members of the civil protection and civil service are already employed.

"The army is the last resort", it must not be overloaded for tasks that other organizations can perform, replied Thomas Hurter (UDC / SH), like other bourgeois speakers. Amherd for her part noted that civilians are better trained for this context. In addition, the rules for subsidiarity have been tightened, so as not to unnecessarily call soldiers, who must leave their jobs, with all the difficulties of the case for employers. The proposal was rejected with 112 votes to 53 and 4 abstentions.

Nothing to do for another minority, the Greens, according to which the service provided by the military should have been considered as a compulsory training service. Fabien Fivaz (Verdi / NE) argued that this would be a fair acknowledgment of their great commitment.

The army will be called upon to help civilian hospitals in basic care, to support them in expanding the capacity of their intensive care units and to transport infected patients. This will allow civilian nursing staff to focus more on the treatment of seriously ill patients.

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