Interview with Thomas Rudin

Managing Director of the Bethesda hospital joined the board of Mercy Ships Switzerland.

Thomas Rudin has been managing the Bethesda hospital in Basel for over 10 years and became a member of the board of Mercy Ships Switzerland in June 2020.

Mr. Rudin, you have decided to join Mercy Ships as a member of the Board of Mercy Ships Switzerland. What were the motives behind this decision?

Mercy Ships is a charity with an interesting history. Various health professionals provide specialized medical treatment to the disadvantaged populations of Africa. In addition, through specific training and targeted renovation and infrastructure projects, the health system in the countries visited is sustainably supported and developed, thus strengthening the general healthcare in the various countries in the long term.

I am very impressed by the great work of Mercy Ships, but also by the fact that this commitment is rooted in the power of Christian faith. The mission of providing people in developing countries with access to healthcare by means of hospital ships is, in my opinion, as necessary as it is valuable.

This is why I would like to bring my various professional experiences in the healthcare sector, particularly in different hospitals, to Mercy Ships.

How do you perceive the organization today?

Mercy Ships is very professional and appealing. The field of activity is very easy to understand and can therefore find good support.
The visibility of the charity in German-speaking Switzerland is still relatively low and can be improved.

I would like to get to know and understand the whole relief organization even better through its work in Switzerland and also on site.

You run the Bethesda Hospital in Basel. What are your biggest challenges?

The healthcare system in Switzerland is very well developed and on everyone’s lips. The various institutions are under great pressure, especially in the current period with the management of the Corona crisis.

The main challenges in Switzerland are the constant cost pressure, the shortage of qualified staff and the associated attractiveness of the health care professions and the constant competition in the market. The development of new forms of cooperation between the various service providers and digitization are also important issues that need to be addressed.

Above all, we should not forget that human beings with their needs and destitution should be at the center of our daily work.

Could you imagine running a hospital that only operates with volunteers from all over the world?

Yes, I would find that a very exciting challenge. It is important to raise enthusiasm for service in volunteers. This requires a shared vision and a high level of personal conviction on the part of all those involved for the common task. The different cultures and ideas on how to implement it would then be relegated to the background.

Dialogue and communication with the staff must be given high priority, as well as the involvement of individual staff members.

Finding consensus is an important factor! The limits are then, however, in medical care, where standards apply and must be adhered to.

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René Progin
René is Communication and Media Manager for Mercy Ships Switzerland.

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