Deconstructing the healthcare guarantee

Lars Nordgren


According to the Swedish Health and Medical Service Act, healthcare is to be provided to the population according to need, on equal terms, and be accessible, a part of healthcare that has been criticized. With the aim of improving accessibility, Sweden’s municipalities, county councils, and government have agreed to introduce a national care guarantee (non statutory) with effect from 2005-11-01. In spite of economic investment and reduced waiting times, it is however felt to be uncertain that the guarantee will reduce waiting times in the long-term. A deconstructive reading is made of the fundamental assumptions underlying the care guarantee. There is also a reading of what it does and does not encompass, as well as its relationship with the concept of prioritization. The care guarantee, in contrast to political promises, does not encompass the entire chain of care since examinations and investigations conducted prior to an appointment or treatment are not counted as part of the time limits. Therefore the care guarantee thus does not constitute  complete offer of healthcare within a certain period of time. What also seems clear when reading the care guarantee is that it does not encompass a quality dimensions.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413