Hospitals struggling to find qualified secretaries

Sweden has long fought a nurse and doctor shortage and now it seems like recruiting medical secretaries has also become a challenge. 

According to a survey conducted by Swedish Radio News, more than half of Sweden's regions have struggled to find administrative health care professionals over the last year.

Medical secretaries perform administrative and supportive functions in hospital and doctors' offices. They should have knowledge of medical terminology and be familiar medical procedures.

Many thought that the growing use of digital tools would make medical secretaries unnecessary, but this has not been the case.

In Kalmar county, the shortage became apparent when trying to find temporary staff for the summer vacation period.

"We have lots to do, really. We were already one man short before and we didn't get any summer temps. It's the same everywhere and in some places there's a critical situation," says Elisabeth Ingesson, a medical secretary at Västervik's hospital.

Ingesson says that the shortage has direct consequences for the patients. She explains that notices for further visits or referrals could suffer delays.

13 out of 21 Swedish regions tell Swedish Radio News that it has been harder to recruit medical secretaries in 2015 than last year.