Swedish proposition: Send the elderly to Thailand – services are cheaper

A new controversial idea from Sweden brings export and import of services to a whole new level. The elderly in Sweden are an increasing group that requires much and expensive care. At the same time, recruiting manpower for the needed services is becoming a challenge. A study group in the Swedish town Nora that discussed health care needs in the future suggest that in stead of importing labour, it might be easier and cheaper to simply export the elderly.

The idea is quite simple. The elderly are becoming more and more. Wages are high in Sweden and there is a shortage of labour in this sector. In Thailand the services are cheap and the country is already popular among the elderly Swedes. The thought is to offer retired Swedes help in relocating to Thailand and then paying for the services they might require which would then be handled by Thai-workers. Thailand is a popular country for Swedish tourists while a large number a senior citizens move there permanently.

“It was a study group we had on health care needs in the future. We know that the number of elderly are increasing and that recruitment needs are great. This is a way to meet the problems we face. Not this year, but maybe in five or ten years,””says Swedish politician David Stansvik who submitted the proposal.

It would be essential that there is no compromise in the quality of services. There is also the question of exploiting cheap labour to consider so the Thai-workers would be offered salaries above average.

“We have no objection to the proposal under consideration, and I have no objection to the proposal to purchase labour abroad, says Eva Thuresson, Chairman of the moderate party in Nora.

David Stansvik gives no straight answer on whether he himself would be willing to use the offer if it becomes reality.

“I think it is an issue that we are discussing with their relatives. In the proposal that I put there is an economic space for having a relative contribution to greet their loved ones if they want to choose such a care.”

However, it is still just and idea and nothing is yet in the works.


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