Oberwil , 19.07.2019

Shock at CHF 53,337 cost of doctor's farewell party


The Financial Control Section of the neighbouring canton of Schwyz has criticised a non-authorised invoice of CHF 53,337 as the cost of a farewell party for a senior doctor of the Zugersee Psychiatric Clinic at Oberwil.


The senior doctor for whom the party was arranged was Magdalena Maria Berkhof, who wrote (in the 2017 annual report) that among the highlights of her time at the clinic were events commemorating its centenary in 2009 and unforgettably moving concerts such as the one performed by Konstantin Wecker, a renowned German singer, (at her own farewell party).


In 2017 the clinic was jointly run on a concordat basis by the cantons of Zug, Schwyz and Uri, whereas now it is run by the Triaplus AG company but still providing basic psychiatric care for patients in the afore-mentioned three cantons.


When it came to the accounts coming under close scrutiny, it was discovered that the farewell party for Dr Berkhof, which was attended by her friends and colleagues, including the unforgettable performance by Konstantin Wecker, cost CHF 53,337 and 30 rappen. Not that this was paid by taxpayers, it came out of a “Doctors and Sponsoring Pool”, intended to fund the cost of ongoing training for doctors, though there were no specific rulings on how this was to be spent and neither was there any written permission to spend the money in the way it was.


Speaking in his capacity as head of the department of health of the Canton of Zug, Martin Pfister of the CVP party said that it was clear funds had been misused with the presiding concordat council never having approved such expenses.


As to the precise provenance of the money, Roland Pfyl of the Schwyz Financial Control said it came from semi-privately and privately insured people. It was emphasised none came from cantonal sources.


Fortunately, he was able to confirm that a farewell party costing as much as this one was an exception.


It has since been decided to shut down the sponsoring pool fund.