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SWEDISH ELDERLY CARE SCANDAL
Juholt demands stricter controls of elderly care

Juholt demands stricter controls of elderly care

Published: 12 Nov 2011 10:51 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Nov 2011 10:51 GMT+01:00

Following recent revelations about conditions at some Swedish nursing homes, both Social Democrat head Håkan Juholt and the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) have penned opinion pieces demanding more efficient controls and regulation of tax-financed geriatric care.

"The reason why alarming reports never stop coming is that politicians are shirking their responsibilities and referring to employees, authorities, municipalities and care companies," wrote Håkan Juholt in daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Venture capital firms, existing first and foremost to maximize profits, have no place in tax-financed elderly care, he opines.

A political agreement over party lines is therefore needed to ensure quality care and to guarantee that appointed funds for care actually reach the elderly.

But recent revelations regarding scandal-stricken care company Carema, hit by more than 150 reports to the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen), have caused more than Juholt to feel the need for better controls of the care system.

"The most important thing right now is to strengthen quality controls," wrote Anders Morin, in charge of welfare-political issues at the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, in daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Players hoping to enter the private care field must be carefully investigated, both with regard to their competence and their economic strength, he argued.

When the business is up and running, it must then undergo evaluation and be under effective supervision.

"It must be made simpler to shut down businesses not able to meet quality standards at short notice," he wrote.

TT/The Local/cg (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:58 November 12, 2011 by old jack
Juholt: "Venture capital firms, existing first and foremost to maximize profits, have no place in tax-financed elderly care."

Did the state hire the company with the best history, care, expertise, etc., or did the state seek to employee the company that was least expensive or a company based on good-old-boy connections?

I don't know, and nothing excuses the abuses of Carema, but these abuses seem to have been known for some time. Why did no one within the state, which hired the company, immediately seek legal action to address these abuses or seek social welfare representatives to immediately correct the inhumane conditions? Carema should have been fired long ago.

If a parent hires a babysitter and the sitter abuses the children, it's expected the parent would take immediate action, not look the other way and continue to subject the children to abuse.

And though it may not apply to this case, I can't help but think of the phrase, you get what you pay for. If you buy cheap clothing, you can expect poor quality fabric, workmanship, and practices that may not be socially/environmentally friendly.

If you buy expensive clothing, you expect quality fabric, workmanship, and perhaps socially/environmentally friendly production as well.

With a history of reduced funding for health care, did the state hire the best care? Apparently not.
19:21 November 12, 2011 by bells on the knight
maximize profit huh? look who's talking.
19:46 November 12, 2011 by Douglas Garner
The State, just like any of us, want the best services their money can buy. Private enterprise has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to do just that.

Julholt and others talk about investigating the finances behind the firms hired by Sweden, but the real problem comes later... these firms must be allowed to MAKE money. As we drive to minimize expenses for the "aging problem" both private and public institutions we be squeezed into attempting to do it for less.

If you contract with me to provide services and I am demonstrating a business model that yields a 8% profit based upon a certain level of service... don't expect me give the same level of service when you cut my funding or otherwise increase my costs (taxes, increased service requirements, extra compliance, etc.).
04:36 November 13, 2011 by rymagnusson
If a private industry can't turn a profit from a given field and provide services effectively, maybe those services should be undertaken by the government which doesn't have the requirement to turn a profit and is accountable to the public at large rather than a group of wealthy shareholders who have no vested interest in the quality of the service provided but rather the monetary bottom line.
17:41 November 13, 2011 by yourkidding
Maybe Juholt can get the money he stole from the taxpayers and use it towards elderly care facilities. Put our money where his mouth is.
19:44 November 13, 2011 by old jack
This is not truly private care. This is still tax-funded care, budgeted by the state, chosen by the state, controlled by the state.
05:55 November 14, 2011 by Frobobbles
I read it as "Juholt demands stricter controls of elderly" ;(
17:30 November 14, 2011 by Borilla
@Douglas Garner

Apparently one's business model allows one to breach a contract whenever it is believed profits are no longer making sufficientt. In the case of a contract to provide care to the elderly, this would apparently include decreasing their medications and food, refusing to change their diapers in a timely manner and providing only sufficient staff to push the bodies out the door. The argument assumes that (1) the "business model" is accurate and (2) the bid has not been "low-balled" just to get the business. In the case of Carema, both points seem to be in question. Attempts at privatizing elder care have historically been failures. These are human beings, not machines being turned off a production line. This debacle simply emphasizes the importance of recognizing the limitations of privatization. Perhaps the powers that be would be more attentive if older people and their families voted with this in mind.
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