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Editorial
October 2003

Ophthalmology in Sweden

Arch Ophthalmol. 2003;121(10):1469-1470. doi:10.1001/archopht.121.10.1469

WITH AN area of almost 500 000 km2, Sweden is the fourth largest country in Europe but has a population of only about 9 million. Less than 10% live in the northern half of the country. Of the population, 16% are older than age 65. Life expectancy for men is 77.1 years; for women, 81.9 years. The infant mortality is 3.4 deaths per 1000 live births.

The government stipulates the basic principles for health care services, but health care is provided by 20 county councils that levy an average tax of 10% on residents' incomes, 80% of which is used for health care costs. In 1999 the total health care expenditure was 7.6% of the gross national product. The health care system is divided into 3 levels: primary care, county care, and regional care. At the base of the health care system is primary care with about 900 local health care centers apart from private general practitioners. The second level consists of about 80 county hospitals. Making up the third level are 9 university hospitals that provide regional care and serve as referral centers.

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