In Örebro county in central Sweden, for example, patients are directed to doctors in Stockholm and Norrköping, Sveriges Radio (SR) reports.
“Our doctors don’t think its right to prioritize these (operations) ahead of others who need care,” Marie-Louise Forsberg Fransson, chair of the Örebro county council board, told SR.
Every year, around 3,000 boys are circumcised in Sweden, many for cultural or religious reasons, according to the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR).
However, the organisation estimates that only about one third of the operations take place in the country’s publicly financed health system.
To reduce the chances of circumcisions being carried out by individuals who lack medical training, Sweden’s county health authorities are supposed to offer the procedure whether or not there is a specific medical reason for the operation.
Currently, health authorities in Örebro, Varmland, Västernorrland, Västerbotten and Jamtland refuse to sanction circumcisions on purely religious or cultural grounds, according to SR.
Birgitta Rydberg of the Stockholm county council health board points out that, according to a decision by the Riksdag, a part of religious freedom includes the right for families to make decisions about circumcision of boys, regardless of medical grounds.
“Considering that we have a Riksdag decision, I think it’s important that we protect these small boys from injuries when people hire butchers who aren’t familiar with medical procedures,” Rydberg told SR.