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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Swedish health workers clock up millions of overtime hours

By: V4 Agency

Health workers in Swedish hospitals have clocked up a whopping 2,2 million overtime hours during the pandemic. The number, although slightly higher than last year’s maximum overtime hours, is evidence that the system is overwhelmed.

According to a recent survey, nurses working in Swedish hospitals completed almost 2.2 million overtime hours in the first 8 months of the year, setting a new record in healthcare. However, Sofia Lindstrom, a nurse at the Uppsala University Hospital, points out that hospitals are overcrowded, and the current number of overtime hours is not much different from last year’s.

Compared to the same period last year, the number of registered overtime hours for nurses increased by only 9 per cent due to the coronavirus epidemic, which equals roughly 178,000 hours. “Even before the epidemic, the health care system was in extremely outstretched,” the expert said.

Swedish public broadcaster SVT also reports that, although the national average is less than 10 per cent, some hospitals have registered even higher overtime hours. A case in point is Ostergotland County, where employees’ overtime hours grew by 53 per cent, or Sodermanland County, where it rose by 27 per cent.

The 2.2 million overtime hours have been clocked up by roughly 1,600 full-time nurses, enough to provide care for Gavleborg County’s population of 285,000 people. Sofia Lindstrom is concerned, saying that – in light of the necessary overtime hours – a growing number of nurses will consider quitting their job. She noted that the situation in Sweden appears to deteriorate as the number of coronavirus infections continues to rise and has already exceeded 200,000.


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