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Sweden earmarks billions for elderly care boost

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Sweden earmarks billions for elderly care boost
14:18 CET+01:00
In the wake of a series of elderly care scandals in Sweden where one negligence allegation followed the next, the government on Thursday pledged to invest 4.3 billion kronor ($617 million) over the next few years to ”develop care for the most vulnerable elderly”.

”We're talking about a group of people that are among those most in need of help in society today, and we know this group will increase,” minister for health and social affairs, Göran Hägglund, said at a press conference on Thursday.

The government and the the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) on Thursday came to an agreement on how to develop care for the elderly in Sweden.

The municipalities will still carry the chief responsibility for elderly care, but they will receive remuneration based on performance.

”Money will be paid out when you make changes and improvements,” said Hägglund.

Out of the earmarked funds, 70 percent will go to the municipalities while 30 percent goes to the county councils, which have primary responsibility for administering Sweden's public health care system.

According to Hägglund, the agreement between the municipalities and county councils will remove previous boundaries which made cooperation difficult.

The government also wants to make it easier for the elderly to influence the care they receive.

According to the governmental coordinator for the elderly, Eva Nilsson Bågenholm, the government is hoping that the agreement will change how the work is currently being carried out.

“There will be a development coordinator in each county. We are investing in education and quality registries for the elderly,“ she told news agency TT.

Nilsson Bågenholm added that the agreement might mean that the need for institutional care, even in the case of dementia patients, will decrease as Sweden invests more into preventative measures.

Over the next 12 months, 1.1 billion kronor from the budget will be earmarked for this purpose.

“The financial incentives that have been agreed on today will be another force to improve care of the elderly. The health care needs to be better at providing the individual with the care and treatment that the patient needs,” said Anders Knape of SALAR in a statement.

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