From Iceland — Icelandic Healthcare System Is In A State Of Near Emergency

Icelandic Healthcare System Is In A State Of Near Emergency

Published August 2, 2022

Photo by
John Pearson

The chairperson of the Icelandic Medical Association says she expects an emergency in the healthcare system, Vísir reports. She says the pressure on healthcare workers has become a dangerous vicious circle. The workload constantly increases, but the number of medical personnel does not.

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Steinunn Þórðardóttir, doctor and chairperson of the Icelandic Medical Association, discussed the serious shortage of doctors in this country on the show Bítið on radio station Bylgjan this morning. According to Steinunn, there are only sixty general practitioners in Iceland for every one hundred thousand inhabitants. In Portugal, for instance, this number reaches 292 general practitioners per hundred thousand.

Steinunn says that there is a huge shortage of specialists in general practice and that this profession is starting to age a lot. Within ten years, almost half of the doctors will be retired. However, she says that, fortunately, special education in medicine is strong and continues to develop.

Steinunn says it is unknown how many doctors are needed to run the health system in this country in a decent way. “It is one of the things we have also been calling for: an assessment of the human power, the need of doctors in Iceland, and what is the maximum load per doctor,” she says.

Steinunn also says that not knowing the workload scares the doctors away from the country, pointing out that in Sweden, for example, general practitioners can treat a maximum of 1,100 patients annually.

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