February 9, 2021
Sweden Huge Care Debt: 55 percent of the Swedish people state that they have refrained from seeking or been denied care in the past year and that they intend to seek care as soon as the corona pandemic is over.
“This indicates that a gigantic ‘healthcare debt’ has been built up which will be a real challenge for the Swedish healthcare system to deal with in the coming year,” says George Thaw, CEO of medtech company FRISQ, which conducted the survey.
The recent survey measured Swedes’ attitudes to health care and was conducted by FRISQ with the help of the survey company Netigate at the end of January / beginning of February. The number of respondents was just over 2,000. FRISQ develops solutions for digital care plans.
More than half – 55 percent – of those surveyed stated that they have deliberately refrained from seeking care or been refused care in the past year, despite the fact that they have experienced a need for care. A minority say they sought care and received it just as usual.
Of those who have refrained from or been denied care, as many as 70 percent have tried to solve their health issues on their own with the help of self-treatment, online doctors, etc. or have completely given up treatment or measures. Five percent of those surveyed say that they tried to seek care but did not receive it, and an additional six percent say that their planned care was canceled.
“The need for care will be 1.5 times as big in the coming year”
“The results indicate that Sweden has built up an enormous “care debt” that can be up to 50 percent of the national annual demand for health care, i.e. when the pandemic is largely over, the health care system may theoretically need to handle a demand that 1.5 times a normal year,” said FRISQ’s CEO George Thaw.
“It will be a huge challenge to the Swedish health care system. I believe this result is valid for many other European countries in similar situations.”
“The ‘care debt’ cannot be solved by simply adding more resources since political, often difficult, decisions and training of staff take too long. The only possible way to manage the care debt is by streamlining operations and increasing productivity, and here the digitalisation of care is a key factor.”
Most of those who have refrained from seeking care in the past year state that the reason is that they have been afraid of being infected with corona (38 percent). 31 percent say they did not want to burden healthcare resources.
Half the population wants to seek care as soon as the pandemic is over
When asked directly if they intend to seek care as soon as the corona situation is largely over, more than half of respondents answer “yes”. Only a third say they do not have a need for care. However, a large proportion, 38 percent, of those who state a need for care fear that the quality of care will be worse than before.
The same survey shows that opposition to vaccinating against covid has decreased in Sweden and that only 14 percent of the population say that they absolutely do not want to be vaccinated against covid-19 (five percent) or have doubts and want to wait (nine percent).