Swedish hospital cuts another 600 jobs amid billion-kronor losses

One of Sweden's top hospitals on Wednesday announced plans to lay off 600 medical staff as it attempts to plug a budget deficit of 1.6 billion kronor (approximately $167 million).

Swedish hospital cuts another 600 jobs amid billion-kronor losses
Around 15,300 people work at Karolinska University Hospital. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

A total of 250 doctor and 350 nursing assistant positions are set to be cut, warned hospital chiefs. The layoffs come in addition to decisions to slash 550 administrative jobs at the hospital, which were announced in May. 

“The notice also includes a small number of hospital service roles. The patients will not be adversely affected, the hospital will implement the changes with continued good patient safety,” read a hospital statement.

“I understand this causes concerns among many employees, but it is inevitable. We will actively support all employees who may be laid off in finding new jobs,” said Karolinska hospital director Björn Zoëga.

The news comes as the budget forecast for the year indicates losses of 1.6 billion kronor. 

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Karolinska University Hospital has been battling financial troubles for years. Last year the hospital recorded losses of 822 million kronor, despite a funding boost of 725 million kronor from the Stockholm health region.

As a result it introduced a savings programme including layoffs, a decision not to hire any new staff, and according to the hospital “11 other hospital-wide measures to cut costs for rents, IT, material and medication”.

Karolinska operates in several locations across the Stockholm region, but its largest hospitals are in Solna just north of Stockholm and in Huddinge south of the capital. It employs in total 15,300 people.

When it recently moved into its new purpose-built building in Solna it was instructed to take charge of the Stockholm region's specialist healthcare, transferring more general care to other caregivers in the region.

“At the same time, the workforce has increased. That has led to a significant financial deficit,” said the hospital.

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