SWEDEN. The number of beds in Swedish hospitals keep decreasing and at the same time the poplation keeps increasing. Anybody can understand that nothing good can come of this.
Out of all the developed countries in OECD Sweden has the lowest number of hospital beds. In 1994 there were 5,2 beds for 1 000 inhabitants, in 2006 it was 2,9/1 000 and in 2017 it had dropped to 2,2/1 000. There’s two reasons for this: medical achievements that make the time a patient is registred shorter so you don’t need as many beds and that wards are closed because of a lack of nurses (especially during the last six years).
But this development has been going on for many years. Many small hospitals have had ward after ward closed until the hospital are eventually closed altogether. Then the patients have to travel for the closest hospital. If you go to the emergency room, which many do as the health centre is so crowded that it’s hard to get to see a doctor, you may have to wait for hours. And even if you might need to stay in the hospital you can be forced to go home and call the health centre in the morning. People get hurt or even die all the time.
The lack of nurses is mainly caused by low wages. You have to study for three years to become a nurse while taking student loans and then another year to become specialized in a certain field. It’s a job with a lot of responsibility, much stress and on some wards there isn’t time to have lunch or even go to the bathroom. On top of this the median wage is 25 661 kronor ($2 882) a month for a nurse who has worked for almost 7 years. Then she’ll pay approximately 45% in taxes. No wonder there’s a lack of nurses.