GPK sharply criticizes Bern's Inselspital and government

On Friday, the Audit Committee of the Grand Council strongly criticized the communication and operational culture of Bern's Inselspital. The government council also came off badly. It rejects the accusations made against it.

According to the Audit Committee, the fact that staff at Bern's Inselspital are in turmoil is due to poor communication on the part of the management. (Archive image: Keystone/Marcel Bieri)

The Business Audit Committee investigated why the house was in disarray at Bern's Inselspital in recent years due to restructuring.

The commission had also wanted to hear from the managers of Insel-Kliniken. However, the government council blew the whistle on the GPK, the committee criticized in a press release on Friday. It considers itself "substantially obstructed" in its overall supervision.

The government council promptly rejected the accusation. It admitted that it had pointed out to the GPK that the questioning it had planned was not expedient in its view. In addition, the government council had asked the commission to discuss such a measure with the management of Inselspital, according to a statement.

Ultimately, however, it is the sole responsibility of the Commission to decide whether or not to carry out these surveys.

Discontent and uncertainty

Restructuring at the Inselspital has caused displeasure in recent years. Insel director Uwe E. Jocham is known to be pursuing ambitious goals. He has resorted to numerous cost-cutting and restructuring measures. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Insel Group is Bernhard Pulver, a former member of the Bernese cantonal government.

A rift opened up between the hospital management and some of the staff, as the Bernese Tamediablätter reported at the end of 2021. A new salary system caused unrest at the time. There was also criticism of the working culture and financial pressure. The audit committee of the Bernese cantonal parliament began to investigate.

Poorly communicated

These revealed that the dissatisfaction and resistance are closely linked to these changes. The GPK gives the Insel management credit for one thing: after the introduction of flat rates per case, the hospital group had no choice but to reorganize the company structurally and financially.

However, the GPK criticizes the hospital management's communication. "Here, the Insel management made mistakes that massively impaired the trust of the staff," the commission wrote in a statement on Friday.

It is not enough just to communicate. Form and content are also crucial. In the opinion of the GPK, this includes, for example, creating transparency and informing staff about decisions of major importance at an early stage and giving reasons for them. Employees should also be involved and ideas and suggestions taken seriously.

The Commission has therefore urged the Government Council to exert its influence on Insel Gruppe AG and ensure that communication is improved. After all, the government council is ultimately the politically responsible party.

With regard to other cantons, the GPK notes that Insel Gruppe AG is likely to represent one of the greatest financial risks for the canton at the moment because the hospitals are under great financial pressure. It is therefore important that the cantonal government exercises its supervision.

The Insel Gruppe remained vague about the criticism it received on Friday. In a statement to the Keystone-SDA news agency, it said that it was in a constant process of improving internal communication. And: "The Board of Directors and the management of the Insel Gruppe are doing everything they can to clearly communicate these changes and their necessity to employees."

The cantonal health directorate merely stated that it was taking note of the comments made by the audit committee. The directorate is in regular contact with the management bodies of the Insel Group. (SDA)

More articles on the topic