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Overcrowding persists in Sweden's hospitals

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Overcrowding persists in Sweden's hospitals
10:56 CEST+02:00
Despite stricter rules, Swedish hospitals still struggle to avoid overcrowding and any institution caught breaking the rules will now face heftier fines, after previous measures have shown only limited effects, according to a report by Sveriges Radio (SR).

Despite the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) threatening that they would take a hard line on hospitals placing patient beds in corridors and too many cramped rooms, the problem still persists, and in the past year alone over 130 cases of overcrowding have been reported.

In future, those found flaunting the rules face possible fines running into millions of kronor.

Michael Sjöberg, the general director for the authority told SR, “When we carried out inspections we found patients and beds in bathrooms, reception areas, storage rooms and corridors. In cases like this it makes things very difficult for the staff.”

Eight years ago, the authority brought in regulations to stop the Skåne University Hospital in Malmö leaving beds obstructing corridors. Helsingborg's Hospital followed suit a few years later.

However, despite this both have failed to reach the desired standards set by authorities and now face the possibility of substantial fines if they do not perform up to standard.

The hospitals involved claim that the overcrowding situation has improved recently, and said they welcomed the new tougher regulations.

Meanwhile, the Work Environment Authority wants to call on politicians if the situation does not improve.

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