Decision to defer the effective date of the hospital lists for the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft until 1 July 2021
Due to what Federal Council have called the “unprecedented situation” we find ourselves in, all work on the corresponding hospital lists for the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft has been suspended in accordance with the Epidemic Diseases Act. Given the extremely high stress under which our hospitals and each canton’s departments of health are now working, the effective date for the respective hospital lists has been deferred to 1 July 2021.
On 28 February 2020, the Federal Council declared the COVID-19 situation to be a “special situation” and, on 16 March 2020, an “unprecedented situation” in accordance with the Epidemic Disease Act. The aim is to stop the COVID-19 virus spreading in Switzerland. The two cantons’ hospitals and departments of health in particular are feeling the strain of the extraordinary measures necessitated by this situation.
Given these circumstances, it will not be possible for the consultation process relating to the new hospital planning (legal hearing), initially launched by the Department of Health Basel-Stadt and the Department of Health and Economic Affairs of the Canton of Basel-Landschaft, to proceed as planned in the coming weeks. In a letter dated 19 March 2020, the Hospitals’ Association of Northwestern Switzerland [Vereinigung Nordwestschweizerischer Spitäler] requested that the two Heads of the Department of Health, Lukas Engelberger (BS) and Thomas Weber (BL), defer the new joint plans for the hospitals in light of the extraordinary COVID-19 situation. Naturally, given the special circumstances, both Heads of the Department of Health agreed to defer the new hospital lists for the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft.
Situation in the Canton of Basel-Stadt
Working off the current state of affairs, the government council of the canton of Basel-Stadt has decided to extend the terms of their service contracts and agreements a further 6 months – i.e. from 31 December 2020 to 30 June 2021 – in order to avoid any regulatory loopholes as a result of this deferral. This measure will alleviate the pressure of the current unprecedented situation and help with future planning, for both the administration and the hospitals where a lot of unplanned resources are being directed in order to deal with COVID-19.
Situation in the Canton of Basel-Landschaft
All ongoing service contracts and agreements with the region’s hospitals in the canton of Basel-Landschaft are open-ended. A formal ruling on extending their term is therefore not required. The General Government Council of the canton of Basel-Landschaft has taken into consideration the existing business relating to the bicantonal project.
The Department of Health Basel-Stadt and the Department of Health and Economic Affairs of the Canton of Basel-Landschaft plan to start hearings (legal hearings) with hospitals for the new service contracts and agreements after the summer holidays (from 10 August 2020). The talks and ensuing tasks are expected to continue until the end of October 2020. The outcome of these talks will then be submitted to the two Heads of the Department of Health. After which, in accordance with the State Treaty, the hospital lists will be sent to the expert commission so that it may draft its opinion for the two governments. Consultations must be conducted with the neighbouring cantons at the same time. These steps are all carried out on the premise that future measures taken by the Federal Council relating to the COVID-19 situation will not lead to further deferrals in the planned procedures and processes.