Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

More delays for foreign medical staff to start work

Doctors and nurses who have moved to Sweden may now have to wait up to seven years before they can start work, thanks to delays in getting their foreign qualifications recognised by the Swedish authorities, who are now calling on the government for more cash to speed up the bureaucracy.

Any medical staff trained outside the European Union/EES first has to have their qualifications checked before they are allowed to start working in Swedish hospitals, news agency TT reports. Many then have to go specialised Swedish language courses and do apprenticeships.

"It's a waste of human resources", says Caroline Olsson from the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions, whose members provide health-care in Sweden. "We're missing the chance to staff hospitals with well educated people that are really needed out there", she adds.

Sweden is currently suffering a severe lack of nurses and other medical staff.

This year on average 157 people are applying each month to have their qualifications approved, that's up from 102 per month in 2012, and in line with the general increase in the number of asylum seekers in Sweden.

The increased number of applications has means that it now takes the National Board of Health and Welfare around eight months to make a first decision. It should only take two months, news agency TT reports.

Departmental head Pernilla Ek says they are now turning to the government for help.

"We need more cash to deal with this, we've done all we can", she says.

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