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Youth psychiatric services faked data for more funding

Published torsdag 13 juli 2017 kl 09.56
Girl with head in hands.
Credit: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Staff at Stockholm's Child and Youth Psychiatric Services (BUP) have been encouraged by management to record shorter waiting times in order to receive increased funding, according to a report by Swedish Radio.

Psychologists in Stockholm have anonymously told Swedish Radio that bosses have asked them to cover up long waiting times.

Sometimes, staff were asked to log young people's cases as being in a more advanced stage of progress and treatment than what they really are.

Single visits have on occasion been recorded as three individual visits.

In order to log multiple appointments, Psychologists have also spoken to children and parents separately at the same visit.

Some patients’ names have been withheld from the official neuropsychiatric assessment list to make the waiting times appear shorter.  

The reason bosses have been encouraging this is because of the county's performance requirements to receive more support.

While half the budget for youth psychiatric services is guaranteed by the county council, the other half is performance-based.

To measure performance, every recorded visit, assessment, and treatment is translated into points. More points result in more funding.

But there are no clear county-wide guidelines on how exactly visits and treatments should be logged.

According to staff at the psychiatric centres, if they were to record their performance accurately, they would have resources cut – resulting in lower standards of care for patients and a poorer working environment for staff.

Staff also say that the culture of misrecording performance means that waiting time statistics on the national SKL authority's website are inaccurate.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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