Hospitals and elderly homes go unchecked
Only a small percentage of healthcare facilities in Sweden were checked last year by authorities, despite regular reports of low standards of care.
“Now that we know that there are so many shortcomings – that they have found problems when they’ve checked – they should be intensifying the inspections,” Stina-Clara Hjulström, chairperson of the national Dementia Association told Swedish Radio.
Each year the national board of health and welfare carries out checks on a sample of the country’s 22,000 hospitals, care homes and health centres. But last year only four percent of them received a visit from inspectors.
However the board says that the main responsibility lies at the local and regional level.
“I think that it’s important to stick to the principle that it’s the country and the local authority that are responsible for providing good, safe care,” said Per-Anders Sunesson, head of the board’s monitoring department.
However among the 170 elderly homes visited by the health and social welfare board three in every four had shortcomings.
“It certainly is a bad grade,” said Sunesson. “They really must look into it and work these problems out.”
The conservative Moderate Party, which leads the government coalition, has proposed a new authority to oversea elderly homes which would have the power to close homes with serious problems.
In late 2010 a scandal erupted over the mistreatment of patients with dementia in a home in northern Sweden. It was followed by more media revelations of inhumane treatment of the elderly in several homes around the country.