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Government welcomes COVID-19 Commission’s interim report

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On Tuesday 15 December, the COVID-19 Commission submitted its first interim report to the Government. The report focuses on the spread of the virus in the health and social care of older people. Its conclusions highlight, among other things, the need for a better regulatory framework, a clearer division of responsibilities and increased medical expertise in the care of older people.

At the end of June, the Government decided to appoint a Committee of Inquiry in the form of a Commission. The Commission’s task was to evaluate the measures taken by the Government, the administrative agencies concerned, the regions and the municipalities to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

During the spring, it became clear that Sweden had not succeeded in protecting older people to a sufficient degree. The Government therefore instructed the Commission to submit a special interim report this year focusing on the care of older people. According to the Commission’s conclusions, almost 90 per cent of the more than 7 500 people who died in Sweden were 70 years of age or older and almost half of them lived in service accommodation. Community transmission of the COVID-19 virus is singled out as the most important cause of its spread in older care settings. The conclusions show that there are structural shortcomings in older care and that providers were unprepared and ill-equipped to deal with a pandemic, due to an inadequate regulatory framework, fragmented organisation, a lack of medical expertise, and other shortcomings.

New act on older care and greater medical expertise

According to the COVID-19 Commission, responsibility for this lies with several actors, but primarily with the Government and previous governments, which have been aware of the structural shortcomings but have not remedied them. The Government welcomes the COVID-19 Commission’s interim report, which will be an important starting point for future reforms. Intensive work is already under way for more robust care of older people and more robust legislation in the area. The Government will shortly present an inquiry tasked with:

  • Proposing a new act on older care that complements the Social Services Act and regulates the health and social care of older people aimed at giving providers clearer statutory responsibilities and functions.
  • Presenting measures to strengthen the regulated access to medical expertise in the care of older people, including access to doctors around the clock for older people in service accommodation.

The COVID-19 Commission will submit a second interim report by 31 October 2021. The final report will be submitted by 28 February 2022.