Lausanne, city of health, “medical Mecca”, centre of multiple competencies …chroniclers never tire of recalling its long tradition of hospitality when it comes to medicine and treatment. Its geographical situation, the beauty of the area, its benign climate and pioneering spirit partly explain Lausanne’s extraordinary vocation in this domain.
Hospitals have been built here since the 11th century, a medical centre was established in the 16th century with the foundation of the Academy of Lausanne and great clinicians have not been slow to confer on the city an international reputation. Among these was the famous Dr Tissot (1728-1797), to whose practice patients would flock from all over Europe, as well as Jean de la Harpe, Matthias Mayor, Frédéric Recordon, Jules Gonin (after whom the present-day eye hospital is named), Edouard de Cérenville and César Roux, considered to be one of the founding fathers of modern surgery. From the 19th century onwards, universities started to provide vocational training in medicine whilst hospitals, hospices, maternity clinics and private clinics were built that would go on to gain in importance and repute during the 20th century.
It is upon this reputation that Lausanne has built a set of infrastructures capable of responding to any requirements; patients can choose between a variety of institutions, from the Vaudois University Hospital Centre (CHUV) to luxury private clinics, not to mention hospitals, maternity clinics and outpatient services. As a consequence of this, cutting-edge research centres find here the conditions and the mindset that fit in with their high aspirations, a prime example being the world-famous Swiss Institute for Cancer Research (ISREC). The notion of well-being in general has also stimulated the growth of numerous additional structures for alternative medicine, paramedical care and centres for relaxation and well-being.
Such lavish care depends on high-quality human resources and on technologies adapted to every medical specialisation, be it the forty services offered by the CHUV or the thirty-five clinics and maternity centres within the greater urban area, not to mention cosmetic surgery, pain management centres or medically assisted reproduction. This wide-ranging provision is concentrated within an easily accessible area and is much appreciated by a clientele from all over the world. Furthermore, many institutions have responded to the desire for wellbeing in general by developing alternative medicine, paramedical care and relaxation or wellbeing areas.
Supported by its 11,000 colleagues, the CHUV admits over 49,000 patients a year. This institution is underpinned by a three-pronged approach: care, training and research. The CHUV is at the cutting edge of progress, being home most notably to a gene therapy centre, a multidisciplinary unit on the immunopathology of AIDS, a neurosurgical department, cardiology and cardiovascular departments and a serious burns unit, a memory centre and a hand centre.
The AGORA Cancer Centre, bringing together about 300 researchers and clinicians on the CHUV site under the governance of the CHUV, the University of Lausanne, the Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) and the ISREC [Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research] foundation, the Swiss Cancer Centre Lausanne will sustain skills and synergies in clinical and translational oncology research in Lausanne.
The city of Lausanne has six clinics: Bois-Cerf, Cecil, Clinique de Longeraie, La Source, Lémanic and Montchoisi. All these establishments judiciously combine the same standards of quality and comfort as the “Swiss Made” hotel industry with the best medical technology available, thanks to a comprehensive range of services in every aspect of medicine, surgery, well-being and health and fitness. The medical specialisms of these clinics have made them beacons of excellence (surgery, cardiovascular procedures and treatments related to alcohol and drugs, psychiatry, rejuvenation, wellness, comfort, etc.). On top of this come the hospitality aspect and the hotel services that are provided by personnel other than the nursing staff and are totally dedicated to the patients. Incidentally, several directors of clinics (apart from medical directors) have completed a course of training at the Lausanne Hotel School (EHL).
Lausanne has over one thousand doctors from all walks of life. Many of them have been trained locally, following the example of the nursing staff. To the Faculty of Medicine and Biology at the University of Lausanne and that of Life Sciences at the Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) must be added the La Source Institute and School of Health Studies and the Vaud School of Health Sciences (Haute École de Santé Vaud), as well as various Swiss schools (osteopathy, physiotherapy, laboratory assistant school, etc.). In parallel and in keeping with the theme of well-being associated with Lausanne, numerous related specialist fields have enjoyed explosive growth: from acupuncture to yoga, via hypnosis, reflexology, etiopathy, sophrology and therapeutic and sports massage.
Lausanne is also well known for another kind of “medical tourism”: that of large-scale medical conventions, which have found here not only a city capable of hosting them in outstanding style, but also a tradition of guaranteed support, as demonstrated – and in turn perpetuated – by the presence of doctors, teachers and eminent scientists. The Vaudois University Hospital Centre (CHUV) – which has its own congress and conference centre – is a base for numerous meetings of this kind, along with the University of Lausanne, the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and a number of centres of basic and applied research.
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