Primary healthcare forms the foundation of the healthcare system in Sweden. In the county of Skåne, 150 primary healthcare centres (PHC) provide the population of 1.4 million with basic outpatient healthcare, maternity care, pediatric care, mental care, rehabilitative care and preventive care. Every day, these centres receive about 12,000 visits and 11,600 phone calls.

Level of services

Primary healthcare centres provide services that do not require advanced medical equipment and is responsible for guiding the patient to the right level within the health system. Patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, asthma/COPD, chronic congestive heart failure etc, visit the healthcare centre for regular check-ups. Many procedures that used to require the patient to be admitted to hospital can now be carried out within this system. This is considerably more costeffective and also reduces the risk of hospitalacquired infections.

Most primary healthcare facilities have a teambased approach with close cooperation between different professional categories. The teams typically have 3-6 specialists in family medicine, nurses specialised in primary healthcare services, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and counsellors. The first point of call is normally a specialist nurse who, based on a standard triage model, makes an assessment of whether the patient needs to see a doctor or another person in the team.

Ensuring good accessibility to primary healthcare helps reduce unnecessary visits to the hospital emergency departments and primary healthcare centres are often located at the hospital during evening and weekend to triage and treat patients at the right level of care. In addition, through systematic use of e-solutions and telephone advisory services, patients can get basic directions from theire own home. A single phone number (1177) is available for free consultations aroundthe- clock and the corresponding website (1177.se) provides medical information and access to e-services. With a simple login, residents can easily access their own medical journal, book appointments, renew prescriptions appointments, order selected tests and medical certificates etc.

Advanced home care is delivered by the hospitals in cooperation with the primary healthcare services whereas the local municipality authority usually runs the basic home-nursing services.

Strengths of the Skåne model

  • Makes the most of your team through task shifting and effective triage models
  • PPP solutions – public financing supports public and private provision
  • Integration of primary and specialist care
  • Strong prevention perspective, including lifestyle disease
  • Documentation and monitoring for quality assurance
  • Methodology development and training is an integral part of everyday work