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Fewer hospital beds per capita

Published söndag 30 november 2014 kl 15.50
There is not enough staff, so beds end up staying empty, even though the patients are queing. Photo: Erik G Svensson/Scanpix Sweden
There is not enough staff, so beds end up staying empty, even though the patients are queing. Photo: Erik G Svensson/Scanpix Sweden

The Swedish population has increased, but the number of hospital beds are fewer. A lack of hospital staff is cited as the reason.

There were 7,5 per cent more inhabitants in Sweden in 2013 compared to ten years earlier. But during the same period, the number of hospital beds went down by 9 per cent. This means there are now 2,6 hospital beds per 1000 people, compared to 3,5 a decade ago. According to the news agency TT, this is a low number internationally (see list at bottom).

The lack of hospital staff means the ones who are working today end up working over time, or postpone their holidays till later.

"There are empty hospital beds because there is a lack of manpower. But the regular staff cannot always work extra hours, they need time to recover so they can stay healthy in this tough working environment," said Maria Bäckman, from the nurses' union in Västernorrland.

The head of administration at Skåne University Hospital, Jan Eriksson, told TT that the situation is very difficult. "Just like most of the country's bigger emergency hospital, we have approximately 10 per cent fewer hospital beds than last year. It is regrettable both for patients and staff, but the situation is not expected to improve until after Christmas," he said.

Number of hospital beds per 1000 people (year).
Sweden: 2,57 (2013)
Norway: 3,97 (2012) 
Denmark: 3,13 (2011) 
Finland: 5,30 (2012) 
Iceland: 3,24 (2013) 
France: 6,34 (2012) 
UK: 2,81 (2012) 
USA: 3,05 (2010) 
Luxemburg: 5,15 (2012) 
South Korea: 10,29 (2012) 
Japan: 13,36 (2012) 
Poland: 6,52 (2012) 

Source: SCB, Läkarstudent/OECD (TT) 

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