The hospital in Sollefteå, where the obstetrics ward was closed.
The hospital in Sollefteå, where the obstetrics ward was closed. Credit: Izabelle Nordfjell/TT

Maternity ward protesters meet with politicians

Protester: We're still hoping it might be reopened.
6:51 min

Protesters from northern Sweden have traveled down to Stockholm in order to meet with national politicians about the state of health care in the county of Västernorrland.

On February 1, the obstetrics ward in Sollefteå was shut after a county council decision that according to Allehanda.se, politicians estimated would save more than SEK 15 million per year.

Emergency surgery, emergency orthopedics, and inpatient women's care departments in Sollefteå were also closed. Citizens have been protesting the closures by occupying the lobby of the hospital since the end of January to demand the departments be reopened. A website organized by the protesters charges that women now need to drive at least one and a half hours if the road conditions are good, to deliver their babies at a hospital.

Swedish Radio's local P4 station reports that the protestors are meeting with the social affairs minister, Annika Strandhäll; the leader of the Christian Democrats, Ebba Busch Thor; and the National Board of Health and Welfare.

One issue the protesters want to bring up is registration codes for births. In Sweden, there are no statistics on how many babies are born outside of hospitals, reports P4 Västernorrland. There are no registration codes to denote, for example, deliveries which take place in cars.

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