Midwife crisis in Sweden

Sweden's capital region is suffering from a steadily worsening shortage of midwives. On Friday, 26 Stockholm midwives resigned in protest against undignified working conditions and low wages, and more than 100 have resigned so far this year. The provincial government has now signalled its willingness to negotiate. The press also sees urgent need for action.

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Aftonbladet (SE) /

The politicians have failed

Aftonbladet blames the regional councillor for Stockholm:

“The midwifery crisis has lasted about as long as Christian Democrat Irene Svenonius has been in charge of nursing in the Stockholm region. Svenonius has said in interviews that she is concerned about the midwives' protests. ... But apparently she was not concerned enough to do anything about the situation. Sweden has over 8,000 certified midwives. The problem is that at least a fifth of them work in areas other than childbirth. If the midwives say the work environment and staff shortages are prompting them to choose other jobs, concrete policy measures in this sector should be the result.”

Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

Also a matter of organisation

Physician Kajsa Dovstad calls in Göteborgs-Posten for a more efficient division of labour in maternity wards:

“One has to wonder whether midwives are performing the right tasks during childbirth. ... The fact that midwives with four and a half years of university education have to provide [pain relief] is provoking in several ways. Instead, nurses should be involved more and allowed to provide a human presence. It would also be more effective if physiotherapists provided pain relief apparatus and if more doctors could be employed to suture lighter wounds. ... There is in fact no shortage of midwives, but a shortage of midwives who can focus on their main task.”