More people visit the doctor after reform

Published tisdag 12 februari 2013 kl 11.36
Nearly 300 clinics have opened, but one-third have since closed. Photo: Bertil Ericson/Scanpix.

Swedes' visits to healthcare centers has increased drastically since a reform took effect in 2010 that allowed people to choose which primary care provider they used.

The center-right government hoped the reform would increase the number of healthcare clinics to treat people with less serious medical problems, thus easing the burden on hospitals and emergency rooms to allow them to deal with more serious cases.

However, the Swedish Agency for Health and Care Services Analysis says that despite the addition of nearly 300 new healthcare centers in Sweden, patients still visit hospitals as much as they used to. A new report from the agency finds that one third of the new healthcare clinics have closed.

"We can't see that this has eased the burden on other healthcare facilities," says Fredrik Lennartsson, from the Health and Care Services Analysis, to Swedish Radio News.

The report finds that visits to healthcare centers has risen by 20 percent per patient in the entire country. Stockholm residents account for the biggest jump, where the amount of visits to a health clinic per patient increased by 30 percent in the past five years.

The report also finds that two-thirds of patients think having the opportunity to pick and change healthcare providers is good.

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