Equity in the delivery of health care in Sweden

Scand J Soc Med. 1998 Dec;26(4):259-64. doi: 10.1177/14034948980260040501.


There is mutual agreement that health care should be delivered according to need. In this article, although we employ different specifications for need, we conclude that there is inequity in the delivery of health care in Sweden. Higher income groups visit doctors more often than lower income groups in relation to need, but lower income groups remain in hospital longer once they have been admitted. These findings may be interpreted to mean that lower income groups, for various reasons, wait too long before visiting a doctor for a specific disease, the consequence being that the disease is so serious by the time the doctor is contacted that inpatient care and a longer time in hospital are necessary. The policy implication of this situation is that lower patient fees and/or higher incomes may help to reduce the inequities in health care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards*
  • Delivery of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Fees, Medical / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden