The Scandinavian Healthcare System

The Scandinavian Healthcare System

Sweden, Denmark, and Norway  are well known for their advanced and modern healthcare, but what’s so special with the Scandinavian healthcare system? These countries are repeatedly at the top of many rankings when it comes to healthcare quality. In this blog post, we take a closer look at the Scandinavian healthcare system to learn more about how it works and its benefits.  

Cost of healthcare

Scandinavians pay a very small amount of money for healthcare, and what makes this possible is the public health insurance system financed by taxes. Collected tax revenues cover 75-85% of the costs. In Sweden, especially, there are patient co-payments and cost-sharing. It facilitates adult patients to share the cost of prescription drugs with the state. Due to this, only a tiny amount remains to be paid by the patient. Low-income patients and patients with certain chronic conditions sometimes don’t have to pay at all. 

If you live in one of the Scandinavian countries and have a cold, you can go and see a practitioner and get a consultation and treatment almost for free.

Healthcare satisfaction

Another thing that Sweden, Norway, and Denmark have in common is that the citizens in these countries experience that they receive good medical services. Based on people’s medical treatment in 2018, 85% of the people were satisfied in Norway. 84% of the people were satisfied in Denmark, and 79% in Sweden. Even more important is that the Scandinavian countries show significant progress in healthcare quality.


Even an advanced healthcare system like the Scandinavian one faces challenges. Like many other countries, healthcare in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark is being threatened by an ageing population, an increasing number of ex-pats, and unhealthy lifestyles. Also, local institutions are missing medical staff, resulting in longer waiting times for an appointment with a general practitioner. Healthcare wait times can be anything from a week to several months to visit a doctor. 

The Scandinavian healthcare system is also facing challenges in financing the advanced medical technology they use, technology such as equipment and pharmaceuticals. It is also demanding training and maintaining the skills of healthcare professionals’ skills, and finding new ways to increase the effectiveness of health treatments.

Working conditions for healthcare professionals

When working as physicians or other health professionals assigned to hospitals or state institutions in Scandinavia, everything regarding salary, contractual terms, and working conditions are governed by collective agreements. Professional associations and unions are the ones negotiating these agreements.

As a healthcare professional in Scandinavia, you can expect a Modern hospital infrastructure, a flat hierarchy in the hospitals, more time per patient which reduces the risk of stress and frustration. In Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, there’s a significant focus on finding a healthy balance between work and private life. Therefore, two essential factors are flexible working hours and not too many overtime hours. 

Do you want to work in Scandinavian healthcare?

Suppose you’re interested in working in a modern healthcare system, which results from advanced technology and constant improvement, among many things. In that case, Scandinavia might be the right place for you. In MediCarrera, we have several years of experience helping medical professionals relocate to Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. We’re always here to support you, so please, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.

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