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Lack of hospital staff cited in patient deaths

Published: 10 Sep 2012 10:27 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Sep 2012 10:27 GMT+02:00

Overcrowding at Swedish hospitals has been cited as the possible cause for five patient deaths this year, with a lack of temporary staff to blame, according to a new study.

The study was carried out by the Swedish Association of Health Professionals (Vårdförbundet) and based on responses gathered at 21 of the association’s local branches.

Three out of every four nurses interviewed responded that the lack of temporary summer staff has been a threat to patient safety.

“Nurses who have taken extra shifts during the holiday period have handed in their notice in September because they can’t manage any longer. It’s unacceptable,” said Sineva Riberio, head of the association in a statement, according to the TT news agency.

Two thirds of the association’s local units report that they have had a considerable lack of specialist nurses and nurses during the summer. There has also been a lack of midwives and biomedical analysts.

The lack of staff on the ward has put an increased strain on those working, with the number of sick days rising and with newly graduated nurses not receiving a sufficient introduction to the workplace.

Staff at the local branches has noticed during the summer that the working environment has become worse, too.

On-site injury numbers have risen and telephone queues and waiting times have become longer, according to the research.

TT/The Local/og

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Your comments about this article

11:02 September 10, 2012 by voiceofreason
I am a foreign-trained doctor but i cannot work in any capacity in a hospital unless I am SFI-Certified, KOMVUX-Certified AND FOLKUNIVERSITET-Certified in Swedish language.

I cannot work as a Nurse, Intern, Midwife, or Medic just name it.

I happen to know many others in my situation also.
11:19 September 10, 2012 by Great Scott
@voiceofreason

Your services are badly needed, I can't fly a 747 without the right papers. So learn Swedish and take up the correct procedures to be able to function in Sweden.

Regarding the main story I am reposting what I said in article http://www.thelocal.se/43114/20120909/

It is also very clear that many people here are not aware of the reason for health failures in Sweden. Of course there is no excuse for anybody leaving during an operation unless a substitute can be found. However huge cuts have been made by the current incompetent government. They have closed hospital wards and departments putting pressure on other facilities, reduced the number of doctors and nurses, they have taken away all funding for assistant nurse training. In some areas of Sweden it can be a 1 - 2 hour drive to the nearest appropriate hospital, so it can take up to 4 hours for an ambulance to get a dying person to hospital. This latest loony idea from the government is just moving money from one area to another, what the heath service needs is full founding so it can operate efficiently.

These people do a fantastic job and all you want to do is crucify them, everybody makes mistakes so why keep kicking these people, did you kick the bankers, nooooooooooo, because they are still laughing at you.

I must also say that the situation we are in now, is so we can pay to tax cuts to the rich.
13:07 September 10, 2012 by cogito
Oh dear, another eat-the-rich rant from the resident Soc. Dem. plant.

As you repeat the yourself in every post on every thread ad nauseum, I will do the same:

Swedish healthcare was even shoddier when the Social Democrats held power.

But it was covered up by the media because almost all Swedish journalists were members of guess-which-party.
14:02 September 10, 2012 by willyinstockholm
I don't agree. I think death of these people is not because of shortage of manpower. I strongly believe, it's because of lack of commitment of the healthcare people to what they are supposed to do. It's because of lack of their ambition. It's because a doctor can't say to his/her stomach to postpone eating for one hour later when a patient is dying. It's because healthcare people think patients are services freely and don't think they get their salaries form tax payers. Indeed, it's not because of shortage of doctor or nurses....
22:34 September 10, 2012 by Scepticion
There are valid arguments on both sides.

There is a shortage in hospital care. There are plenty of statistics out there which show that hospitals have not enough ward space and patients need to be accommodated in the wrong ward, increasing chances of errors. The reason for this are the cost cutting measures.

However, there clearly is in many Swede's of the younger generation, a lack of work ethic and commitment to do a good job - whether private or government. If the union contract prescribes that a person can go to lunch at 12, then that is more important than somebody lying on the operating table.

I think the moderate government tries to bring union dominance and government bloat under control with privatizations and cost cutting measures, but alas the success of such measures is a mixed bag and does not really address the root of the problem, as the many scandals in the private ward industry show.
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