Summer bonus angers Swedish nurses union

Summer bonus angers Swedish nurses union
Swedish nurses have been offered 15,000 kronor ($2,290) to work through their summer holidays to fight staff shortages, a move the health care union said could be "devastating" to their ability to take care of patients in Sweden.

The offer was made to nurses at Stockholm Karolinska University Hospital in Solna and Huddinge, with similar offers made at other hospitals around the country. The nurses were given the choice of the 15,000 kronor bonus on the provision that they work through two weeks of their summer holiday.

The health care workers’ union (Vårdfacket), however, was critical of the offer.

“It’s devastating. Things have been tough with the healthcare system and the nurses really need to have their four consecutive weeks of holiday this summer,” Sineva Ribeiro, head of the union, told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN).

She added that the summer holidays were important for nurses so that they could recuperate their strength to cope during the busy autumn period.

“Many are burned out, tired, and have already taken many extra shifts,” she said.

Anna Nergårdh, chief doctor in Stockholm’s County Council, said that while summer will be tough for the nurses regardless, patients would still be getting the care they needed.

“But I am worried about the challenge before us this summer. It will be more important than usual to have carers in the right place from the beginning,” she told DN.

Sweden’s hospitals are forced to compete with each other to find temporary workers over the summer to cover for nurses on vacation. But they must also go up against Norwegian hospitals, which often provide more lucrative job opportunities for Swedes in the health care industry.

TT/The Local/og

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