Foreign doctors are saving Swedish healthcare. They cost 260,000 SEK apiece to recruit and require a program of intensive training in the Swedish language. After a year's work in Sweden, they are profitable for the region they work in.
The other side of the coin is that physician shortages worsen in much poorer countries.
The Agency for Health Care analysis concludes in a report from last year that Sweden is one of the countries in the OECD that has the most doctors and doctor visits per thousand inhabitants. Yet Sweden has one of the worst results in time patients and physicians feel they have with each other. The Swedish physician shortage is primarily a question of where and how doctors work. There are too few workers at health centers and in rural areas and too much time spent by physicians on documentation and administration.
The report found "the proportion of physicians who use their highest skills for most of the working time has decreased between 1992 and 2010 and that 36 percent of physicians say that they often or very often perform duties that any other person or profession should be doing."
The belief that computer systems can replace medical secretaries has had serious consequences. While doctors are grappling with ever new and more computer systems and more requests for documentation, their time for patients is reduced. This can be measured and reported as a shortage of doctors but could as well be poor organization.