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Social insurance agency blamed for man's suicide

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 7 Oct 2010, 10:33

Published: 07 Oct 2010 10:33 GMT+02:00

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Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) has undertaken an investigation into the case in accordance with Sweden's Lex Maria laws, the informal name used to refer to regulations governing the reporting of injuries or incidents in the Swedish health care system.

The man had been suffering for an extended deep depression and had been cared for by the Örebro local health authority including consultations with psychiatrists and psychologists. During the time of his illness the man had been on sick pay, both part-time and full-time for periods.

According to relatives' testimony to the board, the man received a telephone call from the Social Insurance Agency informing him that if he was unable to work full-time then his ability to work would be tested against the entire labour market, to see if there was any suitable alternative employment.

The board's report details that the man felt anxious over the demands to seek work or training and his relatives have argued that the demands had a direct link to his death two weeks later.

Supporting journals submitted by the Swedish Association of Occupational Health (Föreningen Svensk Företagshälsovård - FSF) to the board conclude that the "the Social Insurance Agency's actions had contributed to the increased stress and anxiety of the patient".

However, according to the Social Insurance Agency's documentation no discussion had been taken with the man referring to him being required to make himself available for employment outside of his field.

FSF had been unable to provide in full the care that the man had required and thus his case had been handed over to the local health authorities. The welfare board concluded in its report that there had been a lack of cooperation between the association and the Social Insurance Agency in the man's case.

"There has to be clear routines for the cooperation based on the patient's life situation and involving discussions with carers, the patient, close relatives and the Social Insurance Agency," the welfare board concluded.

Story continues below…

The board recognised however that there is a "difficult balance to be struck" between making an assessment of the patient's psychological health while respecting and upholding the patient's integrity and independence".

The board furthermore recognised the difficulties of occupational healthcare providers to care for seriously ill patients and called for a clarification of the routines for when another care giver takes over a patient.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:59 October 7, 2010 by Audrian
This is a story about the insensitivity of bureaucrats whose promotion is dependent on how much money they save for their organization. They are narrow minded, snobbish and silly. The court should fine this bureaucrat with one year salary so that he might begin to think before he opens his mouth!
13:16 October 7, 2010 by RememberAisha
+1 for the comment above.
13:36 October 7, 2010 by hutom
Why blame the burocrats alone? What about the right and far right politians who like to portray everyone in benefit as a parasite and what about the people who vote for them?
13:40 October 7, 2010 by hjoian
However, according to the Social Insurance Agency's documentation no discussion had been taken with the man referring to him being required to make himself available for employment outside of his field.

So......sounds like someone is avoiding some responsibility here....why am i not surprised. Its unfortunate that many people claim depression,but this sounded like a genuine case. Only people who have suffered real depression can realise what sad case this is. People who get paid bonuses for getting people back into the workforce should think twice....
13:43 October 7, 2010 by Ranjit T Edward
Besides being narrow minded, snobbish and silly, they are also incompetent in evaluating people. In my community, I see perfectly healthy people who just do nothing but complain and complain and how bad the system is, and live an apathetic life style off social insurance. And, on the other side, I see genuine cases of people struggling and trying hard to find work , not being given any support from the system. The entire social administration needs to be re-modeled with fresh thinking... and yes, those that think they are saving money for the organisation and the one's at the top must be sent on no-pay for a year. Maybe, that will open their eyes.
14:06 October 7, 2010 by glamelixir
Exactly hutom

As I said before: The situation with people who sympathize with right wing parties and neo liberal economy policies is that they assume that they will always be on the "right side of the fence".

The rest of us have realised that such assumption is not to be made...
14:48 October 7, 2010 by Syftfel
Isn't this an example of the fact that the social dems have managed to indoctrinate people in socialist orthodoxy to such a degree that the mere thought of "work" is enough to drive their minions to suicide? Thankfully, these social dems did not gain a majority last September 16th.
16:40 October 7, 2010 by rumcajs

You don't know how bad it is to have a genuine depresion and you think you are too good to get it. My neibourg had it and it wasn't fake cos he was rich anyway. I knew the guy and I don't wish that s**t to anyone.
17:25 October 7, 2010 by Swedesmith
@Sytfel Hard to know how sick this guy really was from the article, but I know I'd bhe depressed if I DIDN'T have work. Sitting around all day watching boring Swedish TV is enough to depress anyone.
23:54 October 7, 2010 by bolababu
Don't criticize until you've walked a mile in their shoes. I never understood depression and referred to it as silly until i met my wife. They often look normal and able-bodied but after having had first hand knowledge of this, i would never recommend them to work or be hired. Suicide is always just one step away every time the slightest anticipation of stress comes on and i live in fear of this everyday.
09:51 October 8, 2010 by mikewhite
Like many other illnesses, depression is a potentially fatal illness and should be treated as such.

It can arise for many reasons but once "inside the pit" it is hard for sufferers to climb out again, some do not.

I think of our friend who was a veterinarian, also the actress Sällström.
13:22 October 15, 2010 by BobYourUncle
sorry but Sytfel's comment is ironically amusing. The perp still had the wannabe to use a webcam for the incident, surely it sounds more like an accident waiting to happen.
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