HUG Directeur Generale Bertrand Levrat Addresses Key Issues Challenging the Public Hospital System of Geneva


Dr. Bertrand Levrat’s discussion, “Is It a HUG or a Huge Hospital?” provided some insights into understanding the public health network of Geneva and the surrounding region and the HUG’s center-piece location in the system. He also discussed the ground-breaking research currently underway at the HUG’s diverse Geneva facilities — recognized globally for its clinical research staff and medical centers.

The Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève (HUG) was launched in 1995 as the first university-based (public) hospital in Switzerland. Currently, it consists of eight hospitals, three clinics, and 40 outpatient consultancies throughout the canton of Geneva. It employees a staff of more than 11,000, with 102 nationalities, and 182 professions, including health professionals and support staff, “from neurosurgeons to janitors.”  

Dr. Levrat (pictured right) began his tenure with the HUG in 2013, after previous posts with Hospice Geneva, and the ICRC. He discussed ongoing research initiatives in areas such as neuroscience and spinal cord research. With an annual operating budget of nearly 3 billion Swiss francs (3.2 million Euros), the HUG is one of the largest medical facilities in Europe.

More than 50 guests, including Hopital de la Tour CEO Nicholas F. Froelicher, attended this gathering of AIC members and guests at the Swiss Metropole Hotel. Dr. Levrat said the three main challenges facing the HUG were changing the hospital’s focus from a doctor-based priority to a patient-based philosophy, confronting the realities of an aging staff and treating an aging patient population, and reducing operating and logistical costs. He cited the HUG’s award winning patient software Mon Dossier Medical, as evidence of their attempts to improve communications between doctors and patients while meeting patient privacy guidelines.

Dr. Levrat’s also cited the HUG’s planned expansion of its emergency room, operating room, and child and adolescent services facilities – part of a 549 million CHF infrastructure expansion program launched this year. He also cited the HUG’s ongoing research excellence in neuroscience and spinal cord research.

Dr. Levrat’s presentation and discussion made for a particularly engaging exchange in an evening co-sponsored by the British Chamber of Commerce.