More Swedish hospitals cancel surgeries amid supply shortage

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More Swedish hospitals cancel surgeries amid supply shortage
File photo of a Swedish hospital. Photo: Simon Rehnström/SvD/TT

More hospitals are cancelling non-essential surgeries amid a supply shortage in central Sweden.


No planned inpatient care or routine surgeries have taken place at Uppsala University Hospital since last Friday, after a new supplier failed to deliver disposable equipment such as hand disinfectants, sterile gloves and catheters to five regions: Uppsala, Örebro, Dalarna, Västmanland and Sörmland.

Late on Thursday healthcare bosses in Dalarna announced that their own back-up supplies had now run so low they would also postpone all scheduled surgeries in the region from Monday next week.

This affects hospitals in Falun, Mora, Avesta and Ludvika.

The cancellations do not affect emergency care, such as traffic accidents or heart attacks, nor do they affect time-sensitive cancer operations.

"We have to prioritize the most severely ill in order to maintain patient safety," said Eva Ohlsson, head physician and part of the Dalarna region's healthcare management group, in a statement.

Healthcare chiefs said they had sought help from other suppliers, other regions and privately run general practitioner clinics to get hold of more equipment, such as test tubes and ECG electrodes.

Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare has been holding a series of crisis meetings with healthcare officials to ensure the regions have enough supplies to handle major unforeseen events.

The problems arose when Uppsala, Örebro, Dalarna, Västmanland and Sörmland changed suppliers at the start of the month. The new supplier, Apotekstjänst, said earlier this week it was "working around the clock to solve the very troubling situation" and had outlined a plan with the regions to get back on track.

But in Uppsala healthcare bosses said they did not yet know when operations would resume, and Västmanland on Wednesday cancelled non-essential surgeries at hospitals in Västerås and Köping.

Örebro and Sörmland said they were currently able to cope with all surgeries including non-essential ones despite the supply shortage, but that they were monitoring the situation closely.


hospital – (ett) sjukhus

health – (en) hälsa

healthcare – (en) sjukvård or hälsovård

surgery – (en) operation

inpatient care – (en) slutenvård

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