health care

More Swedes Check Up on Their Doctors

Swedes are becoming more interested in finding out whether their doctor has been criticised by the Swedish Medical Disciplinary Board, Dagens Nyheter reports.

Ten years ago, just over 6000 inquiries were handled by the board. Last year, there were over 23,000 inquiries.

An inquiry could be a phone call or an e-mail from people who want to know if any disciplinary action has been taken against a doctor, nurse or a dentist. But according to the paper, inquiries also come from Swedish hospitals and staffing agencies.

Eva Nilsson Bågenholm, chairperson of The Swedish Medical Association, tells the news agency TT that the increase can be seen as a sign that people have got used to compare prices and various services before parting with their money. But she warns that just because someone has been given a warning it does not mean that he or she is a bad doctor. And reversely, no warning is not a quality mark in itself.

Nilsson Bågenholm thinks it is better to judge the quality of the health care by looking at public comparisons between different health clinics. In the long run, all the attention placed on disciplinary actions against individual doctors could mean more expensive health care, says Nilsson Bågenholm.

"there is a risk that you become afraid of making the finals decisions, that you wait and make more investigations, just to cover your back. That could create a more expensive and a poorer health care," Nilsson Bågenholm tells TT.

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