Criticism of new sick leave rules

New national guidelines for sick leave have come under heavy criticism from a top government psychiatrist.

Jörgen Herlofson, who devised the criteria by which burnout is defined by Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare, wrote in an article in Dagens Nyheter that stress-related illnesses were not being taken seriously.

Under the new recommendations, people with burnout or mild depression would not be given sick leave at all.

Herlofson said the National Board of Health and Welfare had chosen an ‘anti-humanist’ ideology. He added that the main reason was clearly to save money.

“I and many others are deeply disappointed, worried and suspicious,” Herlofson wrote.

The guidelines have caused controversy since they were released last week. The Swedish Medical Association (Läkarförbundet) backed the new rules, while many patients’ groups have been critical.