The Swedish Healthcare SystemMarch 27, 2020
If you’re heading to Sweden any time soon, there are some things you must know about Swedish healthcare. The country’s healthcare facilities and resources are centred mainly around the concept of sustainability and equal access for all.
A Decentralized System
Healthcare in Sweden is a decentralized domain in administrative affairs. In other words, it is managed by local and regional councils. Resources are allocated to each area or district based on its demography and epidemiology.
The Swedish healthcare division is divided into 290 municipalities and 21 county councils. Their representatives are elected every four years by the residents living in the respective area. The Swedish government sets health guidelines and policies that are meant to be followed by each local health council.
The decentralized healthcare system makes it easier to run operations and analyze any leaks and faults in the system. By electing their representatives, the locals play an active role in the efficiency and betterment of their healthcare
The Scandinavian countries are known for, and often critiqued for, collecting a hefty sum of taxes. As a part of their decentralized operations, the Swedish citizens and taxpayers also have a decentralized tax system. Swedish healthcare is also funded by taxpayer money to a vast extent. The Swedish Council on Technology Assessment in Health Care is responsible for managing finances and improving the system’s efficiency.
Sweden follows a progressive system of taxation, which means that the taxes of the wealthy are used to fund the healthcare system. Simultaneously, the working class can work to improve their living standard without having to worry about high taxes. This creates a balance between the roles of both social classes.
The share of healthcare in Sweden’s total GDP is 11% annually. The taxpaying process is also administered and overseen by the county councils. Overall, 90% of the total healthcare expenses of the country are covered by taxes. Only around 10-12% of the healthcare services come under the domain of private hospitals and GPs.
- Healthcare is universal and accessible to all.
- The average hospital stay is maximum SEK 100/day.
- You can get a subsidized dental service until you’re 23 years of age.
- A specialist visit isn’t more than SEK 400.
- Complete coverage under public health insurance.
- The consultation fee doesn’t exceed SEK 1,100/year. If it does, consultation is free of charge.
- Maximum prescription fee is SEK 2,250/year.
For the Elderly
Over the years, Sweden has continuously worked to ensure the access to health supplies for its elder population. The life expectancy of Sweden currently stands at almost 82. Nearly one of five people in Sweden are over the age of 65, while 80+ people make up 5.2% of the entire population.
Care of the elderly has sufficiently contributed to the greater average lifespan of the population. Elderly care in Sweden takes up almost 3.6% of the annual GDP. As a result of the quality of healthcare, Sweden also has the highest number of elderly workers per capita. This is a major boost to Sweden’s economy and provides more resources for better life opportunities for all.
Quality of Healthcare
Patient safety and wellbeing are an absolute priority in Sweden’s healthcare system. Many patients that have cases of avoidable hospitalization are attended to at their homes by the public healthcare staff.
On an average, most Swedish citizens praise public healthcare services for their amiable and supportive nature. The quality of healthcare, including medicines, machines, sanitary measures and doctoral services, are also impressive.
90-Day Specialist Attendance
The Swedish healthcare system ensures that all patients who require pre-planned treatment and care are attended to immediately. Patients seeking help are assigned a local health center on the very same day. They are then able to get a doctor’s appointments within a week, and a specialist appointment within 90 days. Screening and operations are also done under three months to the max.
If healthcare providers fail to follow this protocol, the patient is shifted elsewhere. The healthcare fund affords all of the patient’s medical, travel, logistical expenses.