Hospital's emergency staff feel strain of capacity shortage

A group of doctors at the Karolinska University Hospital in Solna, just outside Stockholm city, are calling for external investigations after hospital management said they want to reopen 100 hospital beds in their emergency room in order to solve a capacity defecit, but without hiring new medical staff.

"It isn't realistic to open hospital beds without more staff. Very simply, we can't do the job faster. The situation is so serious and uncontrolled that we want an external review of the work environment by the Swedish Work Environment Authority and of patient safety by the Health and Social Care Inspectorate," said Umut Heilborn, who spoke for the group of emergency medical staffers at the Solna hospital.

Daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet first reported about the shortage of emergency personnel and the capacity shortfalls especially at Karolinska's Solna hospital and its sister operation in Huddinge, just south of Stockholm. Because of personnel shortages, every tenth patient was forced to wait more than eight hours, reported the newspaper, and nearly 20 percent of their patient intake was closed.

The councilor responsible for acute medical treatment in Stocholm County, Marie Ljungberg Schött of the Moderate Party indicated that local politicians had taken note of the emergency room problem.

"But I have full confidence in the actions of the hospital management. Summer is always difficult when the staff get a lot of work. Many have refrained from taking holiday that they need to take during the fall, and that creates continued pressure. But I will follow this issue closely in the coming days and also make sure that we review geriatrics and local health services," she said.