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900 beds throughout Swedish hospitals closed

Published måndag 2 februari 2015 kl 10.15
Sjuksköterskor - en allt större bristvara. Foto: Bertil Ericson / SCANPIX
File photo: Bertil Ericson / SCANPIX

Staff shortages within the Swedish health care system have resulted in the closures of 900 beds, according to a report from Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

Hospital emergency rooms throughout Sweden are short by a total of nearly 2,000 nurses.

Gabriel Wikström (Social Democrat), the minister in charge of health care, told the newspaper that county councils need to review the leadership and how health care is being organized, and that on a national level, there needs to be room to accommodate more students going into health care.

However, the chair of the Swedish Association of Health Professionals, Sineva Ribeiro, says more inquiries are not the answer. In her view, the solution would be to raise the average salary for a nurse by around SEK 10,000 per month.

"We know very well today what should have been done yesterday already," says Ribeiro. "We can't have rules for working time that make our members get sick or leave health care. They need a good salary, good salary development and a humane work environment. It's no more difficult than that."

Last week, Svenska Dagbladet reported hospitals have had more and more trouble coping. Since the beginning of the year alone, at least eight hospitals have gone into crisis mode where planned treatments are cancelled and people seeking emergency care are directed to other hospitals. The most common cause of these measures was nursing shortages, particularly of specialized nurses. This led to ward closures, which in turn, led hospitals to be completely full.

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