Is medical care in Sweden any good?

The short answer is yes. Sweden’s national healthcare system has a long and proud history, and although private industry is continuing to make a mark, publicly funded medical care in Sweden still serves as a shining example to politicians in other countries, including Sweden’s neighbours in northern Europe. The standard of care is so good that some have described the Nordic nation’s healthcare system as the best in the world.

Not every Swedish taxpayer will agree with that – the Swedish model has its pros and cons, and some people have chosen to take out private health insurance. But whichever way you look at it, there are far worse places to fall ill or have an accident than Sweden. Hospitals and clinics are generally clean and efficiently run, and patients – including tourists in need – are usually dealt with quickly. The statistics show that healthcare in Sweden compares very favourably with that offered in the US or the UK.

As an English-speaking tourist in Sweden, you’ll get well looked after: most of the course literature that Swedish doctors and dentists read at university is actually in English, rather than Swedish. This means that they will certainly be able to understand your problem, and will hopefully be able to get you back on the mend quickly.

There are many theories as to why the nation’s healthcare system is so good. Perhaps the biggest reason is money: Sweden’s notoriously high taxes are reinvested into a publicly funded system to keep the nation healthy. In 2013, Sweden spent US $4,904 per capita on healthcare, compared with an average of US $3,453 per capita across OECD states.

If you’re visiting Sweden from abroad, you will have to pay at least something to see a doctor, dentist or nurse. Rates vary depending on where you’re from and what you need help with; our guide to healthcare in Sweden has more info on what to expect. Regardless of how good Swedish hospitals are, you should always make sure you have a reliable travel insurance policy to fall back on.



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