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Current and future workforce of general internal medicine in Switzerland


  • Lukas Reinhard
  • Lars Clarfeld
  • Niels Gobin
  • Christoph Knoblauch
  • Patrick Järgen
  • Joana Le Boudec
  • Meret Merker
  • Caroline Rimensberger
  • Céline Roulet
  • Nora Schaub
  • Katja Töttler
  • Maria Wertli
  • Sven Streit



AIM OF THIS STUDY: General Internal Medicine (GIM) is a crucial element in healthcare systems. In order to maintain and improve the quality for patients in healthcare systems, it is important to have a good understanding of how many people are and will be working in this field. This
can provide a basis for political decisions.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study to analyze the current and future workforce of generalists (general practitioners and internists in hospitals) in Switzerland. The Swiss Society of General Internal Medicine (SGAIM) organized a survey to all members. Respondents were asked about their current average workload in 2023 and planned workload in 2033. From there, we calculated full-time equivalent (FTE) for the current and future workforce of generalists and extrapolated FTE to all active SGAIM members. To model the demand by 2033, we derived different scenarios.

RESULTS: Of all 6,232 active SGAIM members, 2,030 (33%) participated: 46% female, largest age group was 56-65years old (25%), 19% were still in postgraduate training. The overall average workload in 2023 was 78% for female and 87% for male generalists thus the FTE extrapolated to all active SGAIM members in 2023 was 5,246. By 2033, 1,935 FTEs (36%) will retire, 502 FTEs (10%) will reduce their workload, 116 FTEs (2%) will increase their workload, and 2,800 FTEs (53%) will remain in the workforce with the same workload as in 2023. In order to maintain the same workforce as in 2023, 2,321 new FTEs (44%) will be needed by 2033. To fill this gap of 232 FTE new generalists per year, we modelled different scenarios under the assumption of interest, workload, migration and dropouts.

CONCLUSIONS: Within only one decade, 44% of the current workforce of generalists will disappear mainly due to retirement and workload decrease. To fill this gap, various scenarios need to be incorporated and politicians are called upon to create the political framework that allows
generalists to create an attractive training and working conditions for generalists to address the future demand for healthcare services.