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A leading Swedish government association today said it wants to restrict the use of agency workers in the healthcare sector for the sake of patients and to improve cost levels. It criticised the reliance on agency staff as “unsatisfactory” and proposed to halve the numbers by 2014.
The criticism comes from the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), which represents the governmental, professional and employer-related interests of Sweden's 290 municipalities and 20 county councils.
Despite proposals to lower the use of agency workers, the organisation said it still needs agency workers in the healthcare sector because they offer “controlled use of services”.
But SALAR said dependency on agency workers should become “small scale” in the future and should only represent a temporary solution. The association is now seeking dialogue with unions and the staffing industry on the matter.
It proposed general restrictions on the use of agency workers in the sector and said other options should first be explored before hiring temporary staff.