Sweden: We need international doctors

Sweden: We need international doctors
Sweden has more doctors, but fewer specialist nurses, than in 2009. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
Sweden has more doctors now than in 2009, according to a new report. But the country needs even more, experts say.

The number of doctors in Sweden went up by ten percent in relation to the population in the years 2009-2014, according to a report by The National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

In 2014 there were 417 doctors per 100,000 people, compared to 379 five years previously.

But even more are needed, said the health board.

“You can't say if it's good or bad. We still need more doctors and there is still a shortage of doctors in public health care. Even if we look ahead to 2030 we are still dependent on doctors from other countries,” analyst Magnus Göransson told the TT news agency.

A total of 27 percent of all doctors in Sweden today were educated in other countries. This percentage includes doctors born abroad as well as Swedish nationals who trained in for example Denmark, Poland or other EU countries.

The number of specialist nurses has gone down by seven percent in the same 2009-2014 period.

“It is serious. It's about being able to perform and operation on time or getting the right medication in psychiatry. It's the most noticeable in ambulance care, where there have to be specialized nurses, otherwise the ambulance won't go,” said Göransson.

The government earmarked 300 million kronor in January to train more specialist nurses in 2017-2018, with the aim that it will be more financially rewarding for those nurses who choose to do it.

“It could turn it around. But it's going to take five to six years before we see a change,” said Göransson.

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