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Swedish care is a waste of time and resources

Swedish care is a waste of time and resources

When should politicians Taking action against long queues for care, it’s always about the money. Before the upcoming election campaign, party representatives of all colors try to bid on each other to show their patronage interest.

This is the wrong strategy. Of course, resources may need to be pushed to many places. But a politician who seriously wants to solve problems in Swedish health care must tackle the underlying problems. In Sweden we pay a lot compared to other similar countries, but we don’t get as much as we can get with a better organisation.

Sweden, after Germany and France, is the country in the European Union spend Most of the money is on health care, as a share of gross domestic product (Eurostat). Calculated based on how much money is spent on care per inhabitant, Sweden ends up in third place after Luxembourg and Denmark. We also have a fairly large number of nurses and doctors per capita – we are even at the top of the European Union.

However, Swedish healthcare is not the best. This is good. Actually really good when it comes to professional healthcare. Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm is the seventh in the world best hospital And the second best player in Europe. Sweden is also at the top Survival for serious diseases.

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But if one It measures other benchmarks, Sweden is at the bottom. This is especially true for one thing: accessibility. Simply put, you could say Swedish care is high quality, if you can get it, but it can be challenging. Many Swedes have to wait for care, in the emergency room, for specialized visits and operations.

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Sweden has the fewest number of care places per resident throughout the European Union. Wait times can be in emergency rooms extreme In several places across the country. At Danderyd Hospital in Stockholm, there were waiting times of 43 hours in January. Västra Götaland is generally better and has already reduced waiting times between 2018 and 2020, according to statistics from the National Board of Health and Welfare.

The waiting lists for surgery are worrying, too. Wait times were long even before the pandemic, which made waiting lists even longer. 180,000 Swedes are in line for surgery or other specialized procedures. Sweden has the longest queues in Europe after Ireland and the United Kingdom (SvD 16/3).

Just Six out of ten Receiving specialist care as per the care guarantee, which states that a patient must wait no longer than 90 days. Some patients may have to wait several years.

How can accessibility be so bad when we pay so much?

The answer is complicated. What is clear is that Swedish healthcare has serious efficiency problems. One Transfer From the Expert Group on Studies in Public Economics, Swedish welfare is ineffective in relation to other similar countries. This leads to jams, which leads to queues. These are system errors that cannot necessarily be fixed with more money.

One such flaw in the system is that care is “heavy”, with hospitals accounting for a large portion of the care that is performed. We have a high density of physicians, but relatively few physicians working in primary care. Health centers should, as a rule, be patients’ first contact with care and when they fail, this has consequences for the entire care system. Good primary care contributes to cost-effectiveness, and poor primary care performance increases costs.

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When health centers do not have time with their patients, it is easy to send a referral to a specialist, although it was quite possible to care for the patient in the health center. This contributes to unnecessary waiting times. A related problem is that in Sweden there are few alternatives to the emergency room when the health center is closed. In Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, for example, there are alternative care institutions such as emergency care centers for mild acute illnesses. But in Sweden, the emergency room often applies to those who need care in the evenings and weekends.

else The problem with efficiency is that employees are overburdened with additional tasks, which are fueled by an ever-growing management. Despite the high density of doctors, Swedish doctors meet with fewer patients than in other countries. Swedish doctors spend on average all a work day per week on administrative tasks. Not the least of which is dealing with bad IT systems. There is no staff around, which means doctors have to take care of things like cleaning and driving around patients.

The same goes for nurses, who today perform tasks that nurse aides and care assistants can do, such as making the beds. In Sweden prevail lack On nurses who work near patients, especially specialist nurses. Too many people work in administrative tasks. She works with every fourth nurse in Sweden another thing, as management and leadership, not with patients (SVT 22/2019). This is a central explanation for the lack of space and overcrowding in hospitals.

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Swedish health care suffers from significant structural problems. A politician who seriously wants to solve care waiting lists cannot be content with wasting money. The core problem must be addressed: inefficiency.

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