• Sweden's news in English
 

Sweden's health system 'worst in the Nordics'

Published: 04 Dec 2013 11:30 GMT+01:00

On Tuesday, a Brussels-based Swedish researcher revealed that Sweden had the worst health system of any of the five Nordic countries. Sweden slipped from sixth to eleventh place among 35 European countries, with Denmark, Finland, Norway and Iceland all racing past it.

The report in particular had harsh words for waiting times in the Swedish healthcare system. It gave as an example that teenagers suffering anorexia at times have to wait six months for an appointment with a specialist. It also highlighted its concern that cancer patients were left to wait. 

"Why can Albania operate its healthcare services with practically zero waiting times, and Sweden cannot?" the report authors from the Health Consumer Powerhouse (HCP) organization in Brussels asked, albeit acknowledging modest improvements. "The Swedish queue-shortening project, on which the state has spent approximately 5 billion euro, has achieved some shortening of waiting times."
 
Sweden aims to make sure people can see their general practitioner within one week max, which the organization said was a modest goal in and of itself.
 
"The target for maximum wait in Sweden to see your primary care doctor (no more than seven days) is underachieved only by Portugal, where the corresponding figure is 15 days," the report stated.
 
Such were the waiting times, that they pulled Sweden down the European ranking despite having technically advanced healthcare at its disposal. 
 
"The Swedish score for technically excellent healthcare services is, as ever, dragged down by the seemingly never-ending story of access/waiting time problems," the reported noted, underlining that the national efforts to guarantee patient care had not helped in cutting the delays significantly. 
 
"If healthcare officials and politicians took to looking across borders, and to "stealing"  improvement ideas from their European colleagues, there would be a good chance for a national system to come much closer to the theoretical top score of 1,000," the report concluded. 
 
"As a prominent example; if Sweden could achieve a Belgian waiting list situation, that alone would suffice to lift Sweden to compete with the Netherlands at ~880 points!"
 
Despite the poor performance in the ranking, Swedish men still manage to live five years longer on average than their Danish neighbours, the Euro Health Consumer Index found this year.
 
"The classic Danish reply when confronted with the fact that male life expectancy is five years less in Denmark than across the water in Sweden: “We have more fun while it lasts!” the report authors noted. 
 
Head researcher Arne Björnberg also explained that Sweden's tumble in 2013's Euro Health Consumer Index (EHCI) was in large part due to other countries getting their act together. Yet the organization stressed that Sweden must focus its efforts on cutting queues.
 
"Only Serbia has equally long waiting times as Sweden today," HCP founder Johan Hjertqvist said in a statement. "Despite the government pumping billions into the queue system, very little is happening."
 
The Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper also revealed on Wednesday that one in three Swedish doctors feels they spend too much time on filling in paperwork, rather than treating their patients. OECD statistics show that Sweden has one of the highest doctor-to-patient ratios but still has one of the lowest rates of doctors visits per citizen annually. Swedish patients also report feeling that they don't get enough time with their healthcare provider. A summary of the situation will be handed to the Social Affairs Minister Göran Hägglund on Wednesday by the Swedish Agency for Health and Care Services Analysis (Myndigheten för vårdanalys). 
 
"Why it looks this way is a mystery," agency head Fredrik Lennartsson told SvD. "We haven't been able to precisely quantify how much time the doctors spend with their patients(...) but there is clearly a lot of potential for using their time and competence more efficiently than we do today." 
 

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sweden to crack down on silly police reports
A police spokesman told The Local they receive many complaints from people who lose their car keys. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/SCANPIX

Sweden to crack down on silly police reports

The Swedish government announced on Thursday that is is going to launch an investigation into valuable police time being wasted by officers forced to deal with unnecessary reports and complaints. READ  

Booming exports boost for Sweden's economy
The Swedish economy is growing. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Booming exports boost for Sweden's economy

Figures showing a surprise financial growth spurt in the second quarter of the year have been hailed as proof that Sweden's economy is on the road to recovery. READ  

Swedes' viral plea finds sender of bottle message
A close-up of the letter Herman Andreas Brunbäck Larsen enclosed in the bottle in 2004. Photo: Sara Hoffman

Swedes' viral plea finds sender of bottle message

A Swedish family has told The Local how they tracked down the sender of a mystery message in a bottle when their Facebook appeal went viral – 11 years after the letter was thrown into the sea by a Norwegian boy. READ  

Why buy a house when there's a Swedish island?
The island is situated between Nacka and Lidingö in Stockholm. Photo: Eldh

Why buy a house when there's a Swedish island?

Ever dreamed of owning your very own Swedish island? This gem in the heart of the Stockholm archipelago could be yours. If you have 65 million kronor ($7.5 million) to spare, that is. READ  

Swedish terror suspect released from custody
Lawyer Lars Salkola at Gothenburg District Court on Friday. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Swedish terror suspect released from custody

UPDATED: A man detained by a Gothenburg court on suspicion of committing murder in Syria has been released from custody pending an ongoing investigation. READ  

Swedish thieves use mobile app to rob man
Swedish app Swish allows users to transfer money in real time using mobile technology. Photo: TT

Swedish thieves use mobile app to rob man

In cashless Sweden even robbers have had to change their methods, with thieves on the island of Gotland resorting to the popular money transfer app Swish to extort money from their victim. READ  

Gothenburg rocked by 'fairly big' earthquake
An earthquake hit the Gothenburg area on Wednesday evening. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Gothenburg rocked by 'fairly big' earthquake

A rare earthquake shook the Gothenburg area in western Sweden on Wednesday evening. READ  

Child's toy bow and arrow spark police alert
A Stockholm police car. File photo: TT

Child's toy bow and arrow spark police alert

After a summer of violence the southern Swedish town of Malmö is on edge, so much so that a full-scale police operation was launched for what turned out to be a child playing with a toy gun and a bow and arrow. READ  

What's on in Sweden
Five fun festivals to get you partying in Sweden
The Medieval Week on Gotland. Photo: Marie-Anne Björkman/Medeltidsveckan

Five fun festivals to get you partying in Sweden

Sweden is gearing up for a number of great festivals this week. Check out our favourite five picks as well as a handy interactive guide to all of Sweden's best events. READ  

Heavy rail travel delays expected across Sweden
Train delays are expected on Thursday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/SCANPIX

Heavy rail travel delays expected across Sweden

UPDATED: Commuters or summer tourists experiencing Sweden by rail are set for travel chaos on Thursday as delays are expected in several parts of the Nordic country. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
How a century-old Russian sub wreck got Sweden into a frenzy
Gallery
People-watching: July 29th
National
How to become a Swedish woman
National
Free bus cards for refugees in Sweden
Lifestyle
New snaps of Sweden's baby prince
Blog updates

24 July

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

"Dear readers, Our most read story this week was our tongue-in-cheek guide on how to become a..." READ »

 

15 July

Climate Change: A New Risk Assessment (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world today.   The UK is..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Why are Swedes so scared of Russian submarines?
Gallery
Property of the week: Simrishamn, Skåne
National
Why has Snoop Dogg said he will never return to Sweden?
Sponsored Article
Getting pregnant the Swedish way
Features
Five outrageously harsh tourist comments about Sweden
Sponsored Article
Why is Sweden still working with Russia?
Gallery
People-watching: July 24th-26th
Travel
Seven ways to beat the Swedish rain
National
Should Sweden's alcohol stores be open on weekends?
National
How to become a Swedish man
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd
Lifestyle
How to never miss your favourite features on The Local
National
Royal husband on 'breadwinner' role
National
Stockholm to ban all cars for one day
Sponsored Article
Outsourcing drives Apreel's Europe growth
Gallery
Property of the week: Sölvesborg, Blekinge
National
Questions over who would replace Swedish PM in a crisis
Gallery
IN PICTURES: July summer snaps
Gallery
People-watching: July 17th-19th
National
Why are Swedish women joining Isis?
Travel
Ten Stockholm streets you just have to walk down
Sponsored Article
'Swedish women must demand their partners use a condom'
Sport
Did UK football parents threaten Swedish kids?
Technology
Stockholm scientists find world's oldest sperm
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th
National
Angry Swede uses bird nest as fake speed camera
National
Meatball row as Ikea changes recipe
National
Sweden's new princess in spotlight
National
Slimy slugs go on sale to raise cash for EU migrants in Sweden
National
Crown Princess Victoria turns 38
Sponsored Article
Harstena: Life in Sweden's secret archipelago
National
Is this the best marriage proposal story in Malmö's history?
Sponsored Article
'Biofuels critical for climate-friendly flights'
Sponsored Article
Gaps don't have to kill your Swedish CV
National
Why summer could be the best time to invest in a Swedish property
Gallery
Property of the week: Bollnäs, Hälsingland
National
Swedish house on sale for one krona
National
Would you give this ugly food a home?
Gallery
People-watching: July 10th-12th
Travel
Foreign hikers in Sweden set to get more help in English
National
Prince Nicolas enjoys first summer
National
Meet the amazing Swedish granny who loves theme parks
National
Stockholm to host Eurovision 2016
Travel
Five quirky summer tours in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: July 8th
Sponsored Article
'Swedish industry needs US trade deal'
Sponsored Article
Sweden's 'incredible' chance to connect
Sponsored Article
'Today's refugees could be tomorrow's Zlatan'
Sponsored Article
Crans-Montana: International expat hub
Sponsored Article
‘I don’t feel Swedish, I feel international’
Sponsored Article
VIP Mingle at Almedalen's hottest event
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

3,315
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se