Occupational Control on Drift—National and Local Intervention in Clinical Work at Emergency Departments

Eva Bejerot, Maria Gustavsson, Hans Hasselbladh, Tina Forsberg Kankkunen, Kerstin Ekberg


In Swedish emergency departments, various initiatives have been introduced in order to reduce long waiting times for patients: lean methods, targets for waiting times related to revenues, interprofessional teams, and different forms of triage systems. This study focuses on the physicians’ views on dilemmas related to these interventions. The study is based on the interviews with 14 physicians in four emergency departments. The interviews have been analysed thematically and presented in the form of brief narratives. The study follows changes from clinical practice to national policy level. The changes appear to be ineffective or counterproductive—waiting times are rather getting longer, but the measures have a number of other effects. Decisions are taken at a central level and are carried out by means of rules, incentives, and projects and end in the medical profession being displaced from the central position they have held in the working processes of health care.

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