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Pots and pans sound hospital patient alarms

Pots and pans sound hospital patient alarms

Published: 04 Feb 2011 12:07 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Feb 2011 12:07 GMT+01:00

An overcrowded hospital in Gothenburg has resorted to giving patients in a children's ward saucepans and spoons to summon assistance in emergency situations, according to a union report.

At Östra Hospital in Gothenburg, ordinary bedside alarms are not available to every patient due to overcrowding. The saucepans and spoons were issued in the children's ward to lift their spirits.

At another department, the staff shopped at hardware chain Clas Ohlsson to buy bells for their patients, the Swedish Association of Health Professionals (Vårdförbundet) reported on Friday.

The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) found that hospital overcrowding is common at all nine of western Sweden's hospitals with emergency departments.

"We have long ago passed the limit of what is acceptable. This is a huge problem," a shocked Maria Tenggren of the union, who also works at Gothenburg's Sahlgrenska University Hospital, said in a statement.

At Sahlgrenska/SU Östra, Alingsås and Mölndal, the supply of hospital beds is so scarce that it creates a risk for patient safety, the board wrote in its report.

"We have for years nagged about the problem of overcrowding, but nothing happens," said Tenggren.

She noted that there are currently three empty wards that are ready to open if the overcrowding becomes too much to handle and that the hospital has an action plan in place.

"However, with all the restrictions and reservations that exist, the opening of these extra spaces is rare. It looks great on paper, but it means nothing in practice," said Tenggren.

In addition, the board's inspection showed that at Östra Hospital, patients were relocated to wards where staff did not have the necessary skills to care for them. In addition, they often lacked oxygen and suction equipment, as well as bells.

The staff at the hospital in Mölndal could not adjust to the addition demand for care needed and had personnel who lacked the skills to care for relocated patients.

Mats Tullberg, the chief physician at SU, told newspaper Göteborgs-Posten (GP) on Friday that overcrowding is a major concern and that the relocation of patients to other departments was not a good sign.

"At most, we had about 80 patients waiting," he told GP.

Vivian Tse (vivian.tse@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:10 February 4, 2011 by ISayWhatPeopleThink
Hey kids, need the nurse? Well just bang on this pot with a spoon. She'll be by to change your bandage with old gym socks since we ran out of bandages. And no bouncing on those old pool floats, that's all we have until we can find a bed for you.

Well world, welcome to Swedish socialized medicine, isn't exactly like it was described in the brochure now was it?
14:12 February 4, 2011 by joeyt
Bruce Dickinson's words never sounded better: "I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell"
15:07 February 4, 2011 by OnessOfMankind
Makes no sense
16:31 February 4, 2011 by UScitizen
This story is quiet alarming!
17:19 February 4, 2011 by T Murphy
So is this what we're in for when ObamaCare ramps up?
20:38 February 4, 2011 by RobinHood
Swedes pay the second highest taxes in the world. Where did our money go?

Banging on a pot is probably much more fun for a sick kid than pushing a boring red button anyway. They should keep the pots and bells, even after they get the buttons fixed.
09:11 April 8, 2011 by Da Goat
Good ole Swedish ingenuity go down to claes olssen and buy some bells!
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