Fribourg: A new HFR is planned in ten years

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A health center should be created between the municipalities of Friborg and Villars-sur-Glâne. It will accommodate the new hospital, the cost of which will probably be close to a billion francs.

The cantonal hospital is 50 years old. Its structure no longer meets needs. © Alain Wicht

The cantonal hospital is 50 years old. Its structure no longer meets needs. © Alain Wicht

Published on 04.05.2024

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Inaugurated in 1971, the cantonal hospital cost 85 million francs at the time. Fifty years later, the project to build a new establishment near the current site is estimated at 500 million francs. Brought forward in 2015, this amount will probably be exceeded. For example, the new main building of the Island Hospital in Bern, recently inaugurated, cost 670 million francs. Completed in 2019, the Rennaz Hospital cost around 400 million.

Many steps still need to be taken

But now is not the time for reckoning. Before cutting the ribbon, many steps must be taken. An urban planning competition for the planning of a health and activities center (PSA) was launched last year. The main purpose of this future site will be to accommodate the new HFR building but also other training infrastructures for health professions as well as various services.


Inauguration of the cantonal hospital

The objective of the town planning competition is to test variants of spatial composition and to propose development of the entire area. The future location of the HFR will be decided on this basis and its planning should start during the second half of 2024. According to the Directorate of Territorial Development, Infrastructure, Mobility and the Environment (DIME), construction on the hill de Bertigny is privileged, close to the current establishment.


Vote for financial support for the HFR

The decree submitted to the vote of Friborg citizens is a first act towards the realization of this project. Of the 175 million mentioned, 70 million constitutes a State loan to the HFR for the study costs of the new hospital. An architectural competition will be organized. Then the final project will be defined and put to the investigation. Its commissioning is planned for 2033.

The creation of a health and activities center is part of the more global project to cover the motorway between Chamblioux and Bertigny. A perimeter of nearly 60 hectares can then be connected between the municipalities of Granges-Paccot, Givisiez, Villars-sur-Glâne and Fribourg. Many questions still arise, including access routes. The future HFR must in particular be able to be connected directly to the motorway exit, in order to relieve congestion on the Villars road. During rush hours, traffic jams hamper the circulation of ambulances. Avoiding them is a challenge, as much for healthcare staff as for patients and visitors.


Commissioning of the new establishment

Please note that completely renovating the current building is not an option. An external analysis confirmed this. In addition to the nuisance that the work would cause for patients and staff, the current site is already congested and an extension remains hypothetical for efficient operation. In addition, the floor height cannot be increased.

The HFR also notes that the operating costs of a renovated hospital would be higher than those of a new hospital. The silhouette that can be seen from afar, however, will not disappear from the landscape. The building is in fact protected. “The ambition is to create a Health life center integrating all the players revolving around the HFR,” indicates the DIME.

The Friborg Hospital must stay up to date

The HFR must constantly renew the devices to meet standards. © Charly Rappo

Innovation, renewal, maintenance, modernization: the HFR is still a bit of a work in progress. And this will continue. Some investments will not wait for the construction of a new hospital.

Patients are already noticing it. On the ground floor, the west wing is gradually being deserted by administrative services and renovated to accommodate only outpatient consultations, which will be grouped there. The objective is multiple: to bring clarity to the organization of space, facilitate synergies and free up rooms on the floors.

“With demographic change and the aging of the population, we need new beds,” explains Stéphane Brand, director of operations. “It’s also about disentangling stationary and ambulatory activities to be more efficient,” summarizes Catherine Favre Kruit, head of communications.

HFR must also keep up with technological developments. If the building is dilapidated, the same cannot be said of the technical platforms, which are far from the state of decay described during the debate at the Grand Council. Listening to Stéphane Brand, it’s not a question of choice. A hospital must meet standards if it wants to guarantee patient safety, obtain the necessary accreditations and be recognized by insurance companies. Furthermore, repairing is not always an option, as maintenance service is no longer guaranteed on certain devices after a certain time.

The adult and pediatric emergency rooms have already been completely renovated. In intensive care, the beds have been equipped with new electrical and biomedical installations, these impressive medical arms. The work to equip the recovery room is soon to be completed. Radiology and radiation oncology will be equipped with new devices. Finally, the HFR is considering acquiring a surgical robot.

On another note, the IT sector faces significant challenges. On the one hand, the clinical information system must be changed. On the other hand, the Friborg Hospital is reorganizing this department due to its exit from the State IT and Telecommunications Service, requested by the Council of State. MAG

A crucial issue for Friborg

On June 9, the people of Friborg will vote on several issues related to health care in the canton. The initiative for 24-hour local public hospital emergencies was launched by a movement of citizens dissatisfied with the new direction of district hospitals. She calls for the reopening of 24-hour emergency services in Tavel and Riaz.

In order to respond to concerns, the Council of State and the Grand Council have concocted a counter-project containing seven measures aimed at ensuring adequate care throughout the territory. They also submit to citizens a decree relating to an amount of 175 million in order to support the investments of the Friborg Hospital. A guarantee of 105 million should allow the HFR to continue its investments in favor of renewal, innovation and improvement projects on current sites. A loan of 70 million is intended for studies linked to the construction of a new hospital. MAG



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