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health system

Overcrowding “normal” at Swedish hospitals

According to the Swedish Work Environment Authority overcrowding is a problem at hospitals across Sweden. Photo: Scanpix.

An investigation by Swedish Radio has found overcrowded hospitals in all county councils in Sweden. Every day, around 500 patients are treated in hospitals that do not have sufficient space for them.

According to Pernilla Niia of the Swedish Work Environment Authority, overcrowding is now regarded as “normal” at Swedish hospitals.

The situation is the most critical in the west of Sweden, where Radio Sweden found an average of 175 extra patients a day. An average of 43 persons per day were treated in the wrong department after being turned away from overcrowded wards.

“This is of course a serious problem which we have to work on and correct. In the worst-case scenario, it could lead to increased death-rates among patients,” said Marie Lawrence of the National Board of Health and Welfare.

According to the Swedish Work Environment Authority overcrowding is a problem for hospital staff, too and three Swedish hospitals now face hefty fines after a nation-wide inspection was carried out last year.

“Patients are being treated in corridors and assembly rooms. One hospital used a large shower room for treating a patient,” said Pernilla Niia.

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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