Those who often read Norran's editorials have probably noticed that I haven't written anything in two weeks. During that time, I have had an unusual amount of contact with the healthcare system. However, it should be clarified that it is healthcare contact of the most positive kind, because I have had a second child.
During the last few weeks, we have therefore been in contact with, among other things, the delivery suite, post-natal care, and our health centre. During this time I reflected on the question that has become the title of this article.
The treatment, competence and care have been absolutely fantastic.
All the staff we have had contact with have been so empathetic and capable that you really feel spoiled. Now, this did not come as a total surprise, as previous experience with other parts of the healthcare system has also been first-class, but sometimes we forget just how good we have it.
Can you be too good for your own good?
In other industries, if staff feel they must constantly overperform, they can address this stress by choosing to take it easy at work and, in more extreme cases, by going on strike. But healthcare staff don't have those pressure valves. The healthcare staff know that if they were to "take it easy" at work, this would affect the patients and the quality of care, and you don't want to have that on your conscience. The possibilities for a strike are very limited in this type of community-supporting function.
But healthcare is in crisis - something must be done. Of course, it would be preferable if we altered the direction of healthcare policy. The current policy is not working. Sadly it does not seem that this will happen in the near future.
The Social Democrats have had political responsibility for Västerbotten's care since well before I was born. Regardless of which political camp you consider yourself part of, you can agree that a different political direction ought to be tried when our healthcare system is in such a crisis.
Instead of the voters punishing those ultimately responsible for the situation in healthcare, the Social Democrats' share of the vote increased by 1.62 percentage points at the last election. This was the election result that surprised me the most, even taking of the national drama.
I can only think of one explanation for this. The voters are satisfied with healthcare and then they also vote for those who have ruled for a long time. Voters do not see the crisis to the same extent as healthcare workers do on a daily basis. We in the public don't see it because the staff are working hard to be able to deliver fantastic care.
So what can be done to remedy this?
Firstly, unfortunately, the regional election is often overshadowed not only by the national parliamentary election, but also by the municipal election. This means healthcare issues are not examined and discussed in the media debate in the same way as other important national issues.
In order to give healthcare the attention it deserves, the regional election should take place at a different time than the other elections. The regional election deserves more attention in the public sphere and changing its election day can remedy this.
My second suggestion is that you who work in healthcare contact politicians and provide them with concrete proposals for the improvements you need to better your daily work. Contact details for all politicians in the region can be found on Region Västerbotten's website.
When you have formulated a concrete proposal on how your conditions should change, I recommend you send this to all parties. Then they have to compete for who can best deal with your needs and ideas.
The last proposal that I want to highlight is a more far-reaching variant of the proposal above. Those of you who have solid experience of the healthcare system should try to become politically involved.
The political parties are crying out for committed members, and once you are in a party, you often quickly gain influence on matters in which you have experience. Many politicians on the regional council and its committees are part-time politicians with very limited experience of many of the aspects that have to be decided on. More input from people at the coalface of the healthcare system is needed when decisions about healthcare are being made.
It is unfair that healthcare workers are punished for doing such a good job. Some should take the opportunity to influence their working conditions. It would deeply enrich the democratic process if more employees from healthcare actively influenced the main decision-making body.