• Sweden edition
 
Summer staffing threatens patient safety

Summer staffing threatens patient safety

Published: 24 Jun 2011 09:43 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Jun 2011 09:43 GMT+02:00

“It is scandalous. Every year they try to plan around the holidays. But employers don’t take it seriously. Then, they panic and offer bonuses if employees waive the vacation they desperately need,” said Sineva Ribeiro, president of Vårdförbundet, in a press release.

“Managers need to take responsibility, instead of tossing it back in the lap of employees,” she said.

The healthcare professionals organization conducted a nationwide survey of temporary hospital employees across 17 out of 21 affected departments.

Responses indicate that nine out of ten departments announce a shortage during the summer months.

Specialized nursing, such as mid-wives, radiographers and biomedical scientists, is hit the worst, claiming that the situation is ‘very serious’ and with a ‘very substantial reduction in staffing.’

As a result of the widespread shortage, hospitals are forced to seek alternative solutions to the summer staffing problem.

The survey demonstrated that the most commonly practiced defenses include an increase in overtime, various forms of bonuses, and an increased use of agency or temporary workers.

Yet, according to the survey, another popular solution is simply to close various hospital care units for the summer. About 50 percent of the Association’s local departments believe the closures are due to staffing shortages.

Members of Vårdförbundet believe the serious shortcomings of summer staffing presents a very real threat to patient safety.

Nine out of 10 departments are in accord, while no departments believe the opposite. The remaining answered ‘do not know’ when asked.

Karen Holst (kholstmedia@gmail.com)

Your comments about this article

10:43 June 24, 2011 by jacquelinee
Sweden needs to adopt a new Vacation system.

In other countres, employees get to pick their vacations according to their seniority. The employee who has been there the longest gets first pick, the one who has been there the least amount of time gets to pick last. The whole establishment can not have the entire month of July off. It is a fair alottment of vacation time.

They are alloted throughout the entire year. If you are a new employee it is quite possible your vacation will be in March, whereas a seior employee will have theirs in July. In this way, you will always have knowlegable trained staff available.

The idea of having an entire country running on a miniscule, untrained, skeletal crew is just totally ridiculous.
10:56 June 24, 2011 by voiceofreason
My wife a doctor but she is not allowed to come anywhere near the hospital until she has gone through SFI, Komvux and and Folk-Universitet. Only then can she take the qualifying exam and then go through 18-month intern-ship.

It is funny because I can bet my pension on it that she knows more medicine than a third of the doctors.
11:37 June 24, 2011 by jacquelinee
@voice of reason

I would bet mine too. I bet she would NOT diagnose melanoma as exema like a Swedish doctor at Varld Central did, like the idiot SWEDISH doctor I went to did. Thank God I insisted having it removed and tested.
12:04 June 24, 2011 by arsalan.ikram
thanks to moderate policies and thier voters
12:31 June 24, 2011 by Puffin
@voiceofreason

Thank god - I would not want a doctor who cannot communicate with the patients, other staff, or read the instructions for prescribing medicine

She may know a lot about medicine but what use is that if she cannot understand my symptoms?
14:09 June 24, 2011 by zooeden
Nothing new, this has been happening for more than 10 years, seems like the only place in which the state has no eyes is in healthcare, demoraphics have grown and medical staff has decreased or gone somewhere else! not a surprise with old institutionist Sweden!
14:12 June 24, 2011 by jacquelinee
@ arsalan.ikram

No.......thanks to poor education that the Swedish people are brainwashed into thinking is GREAT education. In Sweden, It is not about knowledge, or expertise, or even quality educational content. It is about having a paper "betyg" in your hand. Big flippin deal. I can print one myself online and then I too can be a doctor.

@ voice of reason

A REAL doctor will have the care, concern and knowledge to take the inititive to translate precisely what your symptoms are, and use their extensive medical expertise to not only prescribe the medication, but understand how it works, side effects etc.

My friend who, speaks english, was getting a serious operation and asked for an interpreter since she had a swedish doctor (non English speaking) and was concerned about any issues her less extensive grasp of the Swedish language, in it's totality, presented. Her boyfriend (who is 100% Swede in lineage)was able to come at the last minute. A Swedish interpreter had been assigned as well. One instance of the many issues she experienced, is when the doctor asked "Are you currently on any prescibed medication?" This is an important question since drug interaction can be deadly at times. The interpreter (a Swedish one) asked her "Did you take any medication today?" TOTALLY different question. Her boyfriend caught it. THANK GOD!¨

I would rather have a knowlegable, educated doctor that spoke martian look after me than a doughheaded Swedish quack with some worthless betyg hung on his wal, and diagnosing melanoma as exema, a personal experience of mine. Give me a deaf mute that knows his stuff anyday.
21:52 June 24, 2011 by Species125
Has anyone considered taking emergency first-aid training? The more educated we in the public are, the better the chance we have of saving one another.
06:03 June 25, 2011 by voiceofreason
Read my lips, "she is not allowed to come anywhere near the hospital ".

That means, she is not allowed to work as a paramedic, nurse, intern, assistant, whatever and mind you she speaks Swedish.

The point is that, there are many people who can augment the workforce but are not allowed to help in anyway.
16:33 June 25, 2011 by cogito
@Jacqueline #3. " I bet she would NOT diagnose melanoma as exema like a Swedish doctor at Varld Central did, like the idiot SWEDISH doctor..."

Right. A friend here was diagnosed with eczema. The Swedish doctors kept prescribing various expensive creams. Visiting the USA, she showed her "eczema" to a doc there, who immediately took a patch and had it sent to the lab.

Her melanoma and the surgery would have been far less extensive had she been diagnosed correctly in Sweden.

It's not a language problem. It's a competence problem.
23:49 June 25, 2011 by jacquelinee
@cogito #10

It's not a language problem. It's a competence problem.

EXACTLY! I have been prescibed a strong steroid cream for a skin lesion by a different SWEDISH Vard Central doctor without him even giving the lesion a glance let alone examining it. But, he was a wonderful doctor right? How do I know? Well, he has a betyg, so he MUST be great right? Like I said previously...

I would rather have a knowlegable, educated blue doctor that spoke martian look after me than a doughheaded Swedish quack, hiding his incompetance behind a waving betyg. Give me a deaf mute that knows his stuff anyday.
01:29 June 27, 2011 by soultraveler3
This is so right.

"My wife a doctor but she is not allowed to come anywhere near the hospital until she has gone through SFI, Komvux and and Folk-Universitet. Only then can she take the qualifying exam and then go through 18-month intern-ship."

My background is in pharmacy, I have 10 years experience and I'm in a very similar situation as your wife. This story is far too common. You read all the time about the shortage of healthcare professionals in Sweden but they make it so damned hard for educated immigrants to work here.

Most other countries allow you to study the local laws and procedures for a few months then you can attempt to pass a competency exam. If you pass that and pay the licensing fee, you're good to go.

The language issue can be worked with as well. In the states we have many doctors from other countries and they work out fine. People pick up languages quickly when they need to and Sweden already has an interpreter program in place.

They want people to have a svensk betyg because they're under the impression that Sweden's education is better than elsewhere. It's just not true.

Jacquelinee in comment #1 had a good idea as well. If Sweden would adopt a system based on seniority or first come, first serve it would make things a lot smoother. It's a little ridiculous that vital systems the country nearly shut down during summer.
Today's headlines
Science
Swedish women in two-year sex pill study
Contraceptive pills have been linked to mood swings. Photo: Shutterstock

Swedish women in two-year sex pill study

Three hundred women from across Sweden are taking part in a study designed to demonstrate that modern contraceptive pills don't lead to decreased libido or mood swings. READ  

National
Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe
The ship was rescued on Thursday. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Stockholm 'sinking' oil spill ship safe

After fears a ship carrying around 52 tonnes of oil could sink in Stockholm's archipelago, Sweden's Coast Guard said the vessel had been towed to safety. READ  

National
Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal
A scene from a video of the attack published by Dagens Nyheter

Dog attack policewoman acquitted on appeal

A policewoman accused of letting her dog attack a drunk man while she repeatedly hit him with a baton, has had her conviction overturned by a court in Stockholm. READ  

Entertainment
What's On: October 31st - November 7th
Uma Thurman will soon be on her way to Stockholm. Photo: TT

What's On: October 31st - November 7th

Halloween fun and an international film festival are the big events hitting Stockholm this week. We cast our eye over the capital and the rest of the country for the best activities to check out this week. READ  

International
Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

National
Malmö loses out as rare toads move in
The European green toad. Photo: H. Krisp (WikiCommons)

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in

After a rare species of toad moved into southern Sweden's Malmö, builders have had to tone down massive expansion plans in the area. READ  

Politics
Palestine recognized as state by Sweden
Sweden's Foreign Minister is Margot Wallström. Photo: TT

Palestine recognized as state by Sweden

The Swedish government has officially decided to recognize Palestine, with the move announced in a speech by the country's new Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. READ  

Interview
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
For ten days, Globen is transformed into a giant pumpkin. Photo: Shockholm

Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween

American Bill Schacht missed the spooky outfits, family feasts and charity events he associated with Halloween when he moved to Sweden. So he did something about it. The Local meets the founder of the capital's annual Shockholm parade. READ  

Business & Money
Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall
A Vattenfall plant in Germany. Photo: TT

Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall

Swedish energy company Vattenfall has reported losses for the third quarter in a row. READ  

International
Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza
Malala receives the Children's Prize from Queen Silvia. Photo: TT

Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza

UPDATED: Girls' rights champion Malala Yousafzai, who was in Sweden to accept the World's Children's Prize on Wednesday, said she would use all her winnings to help rebuild schools in war-ravaged Gaza. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Blog updates

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

994
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN