Learning from the experiences of women living with chronic illnesses  and improving healthcare provision



Swiss health policy aims to promote equality of access to healthcare. This study analyses the women’s experiences of healthcare provision for chronic diseases and actively involves patients in the development of new approaches.


Switzerland has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe. Yet access to healthcare is limited for certain groups within the population. Migrant women, for example, use healthcare services (such as screening programmes) less often than the rest of the population although they are more likely to suffer from chronic disorders. As yet the practical experience gained by the affected patients has rarely been incorporated into approaches to the problem, and the women themselves play a practically non-existent part in helping to develop solutions.


The aim of the study is to show women living with chronic illnesses experience the Swiss health system, and how they comprehend, interpret and use it. New approaches to improving access to healthcare will be developed with the participation of affected patients.


The study concentrates on women of Portuguese, Turkish and German origin and on Swiss women with chronic diseases. Through individual interviews and focus groups, the study will identify their needs and challenges when using the Swiss healthcare system. In addition, providers of Swiss health and social services will be interviewed about system-based barriers to healthcare for migrant women with chronic illnesses.


The study will help to improve the healthcare structures for women living with chronic diseases and to promote their access to healthcare. The results can be used in academic teaching of human medicine and the social and health sciences and in practical vocational training in medicine and social work.