Huge profits by private operators of public services
The TT news agency reports that the five biggest companies receiving tax-payers’ money to run Swedish schools, clinics, and homes for the elderly saw their profits soar over the past year.
Profits by Capio, Praktikertjänst, Academedia, Attendo, and Human went from SEK 31 billion in 2011 to SEK 35 billion last year.
According to Håkan Tenelius of the industry lobby Vårdföretagarna, tighter rules regulating profits and quality can actually increase the profits of the major operators at the cost of the smaller players, because, he says, the large companies can more easily adjust to changes.
The issue of profits from publicly financed services is controversial, and both the Social Democrat and Left parties have called for restrictions, which might be imposed should the opposition win next year’s election.
According to a study carried out by Svenskt Kvalitetsindex in May, 64 percent of Swedes prefer public healthcare services rather than privately outsourced, and seven out of ten think healthcare run by private companies should not be permitted to earn a profit.
But more and more educational and care services are being outsourced to the private second. In 2011/2012 that amounted to 12 percent of county and regional services and 13 percent of municipal.