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Overcrowding persists in Sweden's hospitals

The Local/gm · 1 Oct 2011, 10:56

Published: 01 Oct 2011 10:56 GMT+02:00

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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.

Story continues below…

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.

The Local/gm (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:32 October 1, 2011 by Token-not-found
Wow , never thought Swedish hospitals had problems of this sort.
11:58 October 1, 2011 by jacquelinee
The government will not invest in more hospital facilites to accomodate the obvious need of patients who need hospital care. Instead, they will fine the hospitals who are doing their best to help sick people, or those needing medical attention. Well, I guess those fines will help to pay for all the useless "think tank" brain(less) storming and the salaries of those government officials who are being paid 6 figure salaries to sit on their behinds and do absolutely nothing.

Bottom line? The hospitals will turn away people in need of medical attention because of the fear of heavy fines. Who will ultimately suffer???? WE WILL!!!!

But for Gods sake people, do not write any letters or make any phone calls to your government officials demanding change! After all, this is Sweden and we certainly would not want to upset anyone or cause any waves at all. For SURE we will unquestioningly believe the govenment has our best interests at heart. (Wonder if the government officials are put on waiting lists when they need a hospital visit?

Sweden. Again........no accountability and no consequences.
12:38 October 1, 2011 by TJSmith
I agree with jacquelinee, why not do something more to build more hospitals? The idea to fine overcrowded hospitals,is not the answer!
17:11 October 1, 2011 by Opinionfool

Welcome to health provision post-Thatcher. In England they've had such overcrowding for years. Thatcher cut hospital budgets, cut services, and so naturally the queues formed. Building more hospitals would be the answer (in Sweden and in England) but the nice little politicians will cry and say "we don't have the money.:
17:15 October 1, 2011 by Vietvet
More hospitals are closed and not enough expansion on existing hospitals. This is sad and I fail to see how fining those hospitals reamining solves anything.

All this said, when you really need them, the medical professonals here in Sweden are great.

When I broke both bones in my leg a few years ago the care was outstanding. Total cost to me, 50 SEK.

My wife will have eye surgery for cataracts on Monday. Total cost is 900 SEK. Her surgeon is OUTSTANDING and for the first time in 59 years, she will not need glasses.
01:04 October 2, 2011 by soultraveler3
The local hospital here has a patient tower with 7 floors, all but 2 floors are closed and not in use at all besides for storage.

Instead of opening up this tower they make 90% of the sick people that show up here drive for an hour to a bigger town with an overcrowded hospital. It makes no sense.
08:29 October 2, 2011 by CurlyOne
My partner is an MD at a hospital. The hospital gets fully reimbursed (reimbursement rate set by bureacrats) for performing a set number of a given procedure (this number is also assigned to them and they don't know what it is based on). If they do more than they are allowed, they are only reimbursed at 30%. Starting in January they will also be penalized for not processing patients according to government timelines. Earlier this year, my partner spent a week trying to find a nursing home bed for someone who no longer needed care, but who was no longer able to go home. This lady spent more than a month in an expensive ward with a high care level. Because the system doesn't work, an MD who should be treating patients is instead doing admin work...instead of just putting greater demands on everyone in a flawed system, the gov't needs to work to reform up.
12:20 October 2, 2011 by krrodman

Everyone should read, and then reread, CurlyOne's note. It describes perfectly why socialized medicine is a failed model. The incentives in socialized medicine are all wrong (they are wrong in a capitalist system as well, but that is a story for another day). The amount of medical care delivered is not based on the medical needs of the patient population, but rather on a bureaucratically set financial target. Things are so backwards that hospitals are punished for delivering care above target levels! NUTS!

Imagine this: The government tells Volvo that they are only allowed to sell a certain number of cars each year, and if they sell more they will only get paid at a 30% rate. It doesn't matter if a person needs a car, and it doesn't matter if a person desires to buy a car. The government makes it economically untenable for Volvo to sell cars above the preset number.

If you believe that it is crazy for the government to control the number of cars that Volvo is allowed to sell, then it is equally crazy to allow the government to control health care. And please do not tell me that the government has the right to control health care because the government "pays" for it. On the contrary, the government doesn't pay for anything. The people pay for it through taxes. Once again the Volvo analogy works here. Could you imagine a "car tax" created by the government so that a fund is created for the purpose of purchasing cars for the citizens of Sweden? The government would then decide how many cars would be distributed each year, and which citizens would get one. That, my friends, is socialized medicine.
19:14 October 2, 2011 by Just_Kidding
There was a man who had a cow. This man fed and milked the cow once a day and earned money by selling the cow's milk. One day the man decided to cut the cow's food to half and milk it twice a day; and it worked; man was surprised and happy and started to milk more and feed less until one day the poor cow died.

Now the politicians are treating the health care system in the same manner. Once it was a reputable system, but politicians started to cut its budget and demand more of it.
22:10 October 2, 2011 by wxman
The real problem? Socialism works in a homogeneous hard working society for a while, but then when you let in 100s of thousands of under employed or un-employed foreigners who, for the most part, are young and with many children, then voila! You have an over taxed hospitalization system. Now wasn't that easy to understand?
17:12 October 3, 2011 by cogito

Go back and read Krrodman (#8) and Curly One (#7). The problem is government and bureacrats in control, rather than medical people and patients.
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