“This has been the toughest summer we have had. We had fewer places and we have had long wait times at accident and emergency,” said doctor Ann-Britt Bolin Wiechel to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily which compiled the report.
According to DN some 357 reports were filed during the summer concerning patients forced to wait more than eight hours, twice the stipulated goal of a maximum of four hours. The figure represents a ten-fold increase on the summer of 2012.
The hospital, which operates two accident and emergency units – in Solna to the north of Stockholm and Huddinge to the south – operated some 900 places, of a total of 1,350 during the holiday period due to staff shortages.
The most extreme delay affected a man who was admitted to the unit in Huddinge suffering from a multi-resistant bacterial infection. The man was made to wait 44 hours.
The elderly are often the worst affected by the delays, according DN, with more than half of the 100 reported cases where the patient’s age was disclosed, involving patients aged over 65.
“This is not good at all. It isn’t that we select the elderly so that they should wait longer. We worry most for the elderly who are the most fragile,” Bohlin said.
Bohlin told the newspaper that despite the long delays, there were no reports of any serious injuries or illness as a result of the queues.