24,000 new nurses needed: union
The Swedish Municipal Workers’ Union, Kommunal, claims that Sweden needs to recruit 24,000 new nurses in the coming five years, the TT news agency reports.
According to figures provided by the union, since the mid-90s, the number of doctors working in Sweden has risen 37 per cent and staff nurses by 23 per cent.
In the same period, the number of nurses has fallen by 26 per cent.
The union is criticising local health authorities for deliberately phasing out entry grade nursing positions, by increasing the responsibilities of nurses. A trend the union says is having an adverse effect on patient care.
"We're not against training, but things shouldn't get to the point that we run out of staff," said Kommunal chairman, Annelie Nordström.
According to the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKL)however, this trend could be about to change.
"Today, we see the opposite trend: that people are switching back to being nurses from staff nurse positions," said Caroline Olsson, section manager at SKL.
Meanwhile, interest in the healthcare sector as a career remains weak, and has fallen dramatically since the early 80s. Two years ago, the government launched an study into how training for the healthcare sector could be made more attractive, the results of which are yet to be published.