As pregnant women in Sweden are discovering. Why family-friendly Sweden is talking about a maternity care crisis – The Local
Politicians can promise a lot of things. But politicians aren’t health care workers.
In a 20-year period the number of total hospital beds across the country decreased by 10,000 according to one study, while the population grew by 13 percent during the same period. Among OECD [The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] countries, the number of hospital beds per capita in Sweden is the third lowest, ahead of only Mexico and Chile.
This article focuses on the impact this is having on maternity wards, and expectant mothers. In a nutshell, women have to travel a long way, and even in the cities, they are being sent to other areas over staffing shortages. The result is that some kids are being born in cars.
It’s not only the rural north affected by the shortages. In 2014, a Swedish man helped his fiancée give birth in the back of a taxi after they were told that every maternity ward in the Stockholm region and sent south to the small town of Nyköping one hour away. In August 2017, a woman gave birth in the garage of a Gothenburg hospital after being sent away from their local hospital.
So far the staffing issues haven’t moved the stats on the safety of childbirth in Sweden, but there are some worrying signs that those conditions are about to change. There are anecdotes indicating that some infant deaths might be the direct result of staffing shortages.
As for getting more people in the profession of midwifery, and obstetrics, there is little incentive to take on that stress. Salaries are set by the government, and they have been set low. And then politicians spend money that should be spent on health care on other things, or in ways that get questioned. There are some examples if you click thru.
Of course letting the market determine things like salary, and where hospitals are needed or staffing levels instead relying on a .gov bureaucracy, or elected officials, is never considered. (Sweden is a socialist country, isn’t it?)