Animal hospital could do human x-rays

Patients in need of an x-ray or an MRI scan in southwestern Sweden might soon be heading to a veterinary hospital to have their images taken.

The lines are so long, the Skara animal hospital has opened its doors, saying it could serve some of those who are waiting up to a year to have imaging done within the public health system.

“We have been taking care of private health care patients for six months,” said Per Johansson, spokesman at the Skara animal hospital to The Local. “We have the same machines and techniques as they do.”

Johansson said his hospital could do the imaging and could then forward the results to the public hospital for reading.

Birgitta Molin Melander, head of the public Skaraborg hospital, said she has reservations about turning patients over to a vet.

However, she said that she was willing to look into the idea, if patient security could be guaranteed. Representatives from the animal and human infirmaries were meeting on Tuesday to discuss the idea.

“The problem is that it is not a human health care giver,” she told Sveriges Radio. “It is an animal care giver, which is something else.”

The suggestion has already elicited an outcry from the Christian Democrats. Deputy leader Maria Larsson said she doesn’t “want to share a waiting room with horses and cows.”

“Swedish healthcare needs real investment to reduce waiting times and increase access to normal doctors, hospitals and healthcare centres. Longer opening hours at the vet are notthe solution to the health system’s problems.”

Skara hospital’s Melander said the long line is due to recruiting problems and vacancies. The hospital decided an additional 500-600 MRI tests will take place after the summer.