The National Council for Health and Welfare today, Wednesday, presented its annual statistics on waiting times in emergency departments, showing that the overall length of stay for patients has increased over the past two years. Despite the number of visits being slightly lower than before the pandemic, half of visits in 2022 lasted longer than 4 hours and 17 minutes. The waiting time for the first medical assessment has also increased since 2021, where the average waiting time for all patients last year was 1 hour and 3 minutes.

Statistics also show that women stay longer than men, regardless of their age. By 2022, half of all women over 80 had to wait longer than 5 hours and 1 minute in the emergency room. Among men in the same age group, half of visits lasted longer than 4 hours and 49 minutes. Even for patients between the ages of 19 and 79, lengths of stay have increased in recent years, with wait times 35 minutes longer for both women and men.

Regionally, waiting times at emergency departments are longest in the Stockholm region, Uppsala region and Skåne region, where more than half of visits lasted longer than five hours. Kalmar province had the shortest length of stay, with just under 3 hours and 10 minutes in the median. The availability of care places may also play a role and explain the regional differences, according to the report by the National Council for Health and Welfare.

– We can say that waiting and staying times are becoming longer, even though the number of visits is still below pre-pandemic levels. This suggests that there are other factors behind the extended times, for example how emergency care is organized or what the availability of care places looks like, says Bruno Ziegler, expert at the National Council for Health and Welfare, in a press release.