Emergency medicine in Switzerland encompasses preclinical emergency medicine outside hospitals and clinical emergency medicine in hospital.

Emergencies are defined as changes in the state of health due to illness and/or accident for which the patient himself or a third person judges immediate medical help necessary.

Clinical emergency medicine is practiced in hospital emergency departments and accident and emergency admissions. The services required of any emergency department must take into account the respective local conditions and, therefore, must be site specific; nevertheless, triage, emergency diagnostic investigations, emergency treatment and, if necessary, the transfer of the patient to a specialised institution all form part of the joint task of all emergency departments.

These tasks define the core area of emergency medicine and differentiate it from other medical specialties.

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