The Swedish military, Försvarsmakten

Military wants to share staff with hospitals

A unique agreement has been reached in a part of central Sweden. The military, the municipal council and local businesses are all going to make it easier for people with jobs to also be part-time soldiers.

Cooperation is already underway. Hospitals in the cities of Falköping, Lidköping, Mariestad and Skövde often have a hard time making sure they have enough ambulance staff during the summer, and the local regiment has been supplying staff instead.

Now the army want people who might work at the hospital normally, to also be able to easily be a soldier for a while.

Colonel Fredrik Ståhlberg is the commander of Skaraborg's regiment. He says it feels good. The colonel is very pleased with the agreement, and he knows that it is currently hard to get enough servicemen and women into the Swedish military. Although compulsory service was phased out in 2010, the Swedish military has kept on focusing on international missions,

In this region of Skaraborg alone the regiment wants to recruit 3,000 more people. And half of those will be part-timers. The new agreement will make it easier for people to get a leave of absence from their employer, to spend periods of time in the military.

One of the employers is the hospital of Skaraborg. At the human resources department is Inger Levin, who says that the generation born in the 1980s and 90s want a challenge, and that offering them the chance to sometimes be a soldier is a way to encourage them to see the hospitals as an attractive employer

Another local employer involved is international company Paroc, which makes insulation materials. Lars Lindström, head of Human Resources, says this agreement will be good for his company, as it will get staff with a broader range of skills, and experience of different kinds of operations.

But the international operations the Swedish military are involved in under the UN flag range from Uganda to India. So who will be responsible for making sure that a part-time soldier is properly looked after, when they return from abroad?

Currently the law says that only one employer can be held responsible. Lars Lindström from Paroc says that any of their staff who need it should have the best psychological help possible - but that it is not the private sector which can provide this, but rather the military.


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