The hospitals in Stockholm are facing financial strain and are required to make significant savings to meet their budgets. To achieve this, the region is planning to significantly reduce its staff, leading to concerns among several doctors who describe it as a “rent freeze” that will considerably impact surgical care. Johan Styrud, the chairman of the Stockholm Medical Association, believes that this will be costly for both staff and patients. However, Region Stockholm is hoping to employ more permanent nurses and midwives instead of hiring temporary staff, although the region is facing challenges as staffing companies offer higher salaries and more flexibility. To address this, Region Stockholm has introduced a bonus system for recruiting employees, where a permanent staff member can receive up to SEK 50,000 for successfully referring someone who is employed in the healthcare sector for at least one year. The person recruited via the tip also receives a bonus of SEK 20,000. This bonus system is voluntary and is not implemented across the entire healthcare system. The hospitals in Stockholm do not have any figures on how many employees have been recruited through the system. The bonus system for recruitment is also being tested in other regions in Sweden, including Värmland and Sörmland, where successful referrals are rewarded with bonuses of SEK 20,000 and SEK 30,000, respectively. Emma Jonsson, the chairman of the healthcare association in Stockholm, is critical of the recruitment bonus and argues that the money would be better spent on improving employee working conditions, environment, and salary structures.
The hospitals in Stockholm have a strained financial situation and will have to make large savings to meet their budgets. One of the biggest measures the region is taking is to drastically reduce staffing.
Several doctors describe it as a “rent freeze” that hits hard against surgical care. It will be costly for both the staff and the patients, according to Johan Styrud, chairman of the Stockholm Medical Association.
Instead of hiring temporary staff, Region Stockholm wants to employ more of its own nurses and midwives. This is difficult because you can hardly compete with staffing companies in terms of salary or when it comes to flexibility. In addition, there is a large shortage of several of the healthcare professions.
Now we take to a new trick in the search for own employees, a bonus system where a permanent employee can receive up to SEK 50,000 if he succeeds in tipping off a person who is employed in the healthcare sector and works for at least one year. In addition, the person recruited via the tip receives a bonus of SEK 20,000.
The bonus system does not apply to the entire healthcare system, the businesses can decide for themselves whether it should be used and, if so, for which roles, according to Ulrika Sundquist, HR Director in Region Stockholm.
How do you define tipping an employee?
– You tip the person about your business and have a contributing role in making a recruitment happen. Our employees are the ones who can best describe what it’s like to work in each business, she says.
SEK 10,000 of the recruitment bonus is paid at the time of employment and the remaining money after the new employee has worked for a year, to both the new employee and the person who tipped.
Because the bonus is so new, the hospitals in Stockholm do not have any figures on how many employees have been recruited through the system. Karolinska University Hospital’s salary unit states that they have not yet received any signed documentation regarding recruitment bonuses, it sounds the same from Danderyd Hospital.
Södersjukhuset states that recruitment is ongoing which may mean that recruitment bonuses will be paid out but that this work is not yet complete.
Bonus systems for recruitment are also being tested in Region Sörmland, which, like Stockholm, is making an aggressive attempt to get rid of the hired staff. In Sörmland, a bonus of SEK 30,000 is given to anyone who succeeds in tipping off a colleague who then takes up employment. So far, eight employees have been granted recruitment bonuses.
Emma Jonsson, the chairman of the healthcare association in Stockholm, is critical of the recruitment bonus. She says that it is a way for the region to try to buy time and transfer the responsibility for recruitment to the staff, but that it is not a sustainable solution to the staffing problem.
– Here, our members are very much in agreement that the money should instead be spent on making the employees happy. On improved working environment, conditions and salary structure, she says.
According to Emma Jonsson, the bonus is not something that the region and the union negotiated.
– We have been clear that this is not the right way to go and I don’t think that many people will take up the offer.