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Health board slams refugee medical clinic

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Health board slams refugee medical clinic
12:13 CET+01:00
Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare has directed a scathing critique against a medical centre for asylum">asylum seekers in Stockholm County.

“We found a number of deficiencies which are completely unacceptable,” writes Staffan Blom, the board's head of supervision for Stockholm, in a statement.

The health board highlights two cases in which the Flyktingmedicinskt centrum (FMC -- ‘Refugee Medical Centre') mistakenly mixed up two women, one of whom was HIV positive, while the other was free of the virus which causes AIDS.

The infected woman only learned of her condition six months later when she was admitted to hospital to treat a severe infection. She later developed AIDS

In another case, a doctor misinterpreted the results of an HIV test, telling a family that their six-year-old boy was infected by the virus when in fact he wasn't.

FMC, which is run by private hospital operator Avesina AB, is also accused of neglecting files with test results and referrals for around 70 patients suspected of carrying tuberculosis.

The clinic's lack of action resulted in several patients never receiving a full examination and in some cases being forced to wait up to 18 months before receiving a referral for special treatment.

Last year FMC's operations in the Stockholm suburbs of Rissne in the south and Fittja in the north were subjected to comprehensive reviews by the health board.

Blom points out that refugees already suffer from a number of hardships and are often unable to receive medical care anywhere else.

“As an asylum">asylum seeker, one often doesn't know the language. It can be hard to make demands and it's hard to have one's voice heard,” writes Blom.

Among other things FMC lacked office procedures, and the health board wants the Stockholm County Council, which contracts for FMC's services, to do a better job of monitoring the clinic's activities.

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