Hospitals ask pregnant mothers to bring in bedding

July 29th, 2013

This article is more than 10 years old.

Hard economic times at many Danish hospitals are leading them to find ways of cutting costs while preserving core services

In an effort to cut costs, hospitals are asking pregnant women to bring their own supplies with them when they check in to give birth, Berlingske newspaper reports.

The Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby, is asking women to bring their own bed covers, sheets and clothes for their newborn, while parents admitted with their baby must pay for their own food.

Dansk Folkeparti (DF) does not approve of these new policies, which have been introduced by the hospital in order to save one million kroner a year.

“They have crossed the line,” DF spokesperson Jette Skive told Århus Stiftstidende. “I can accept that expecting parents are asked to bring sheets, but it’s too much to ask that they have to bring their own bed covers.”

Carl Johan Rasmussen (Socialdemokraterne), a member of the the central Jutland health region's hospital committee, dismissed the criticisms.

“It’s reasonable to demand that people bring their own clothes for the baby during a short stay at a hospital,” Rasmussen told Berlingske newspaper.

Several other hospitals, including Viborg Hospital and Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, have introduced similar demands on pregnant mothers to bring clothing and bedding with them.

Professor Jes Søgaard from the health research centre Dansk Sundhedsinstitut argues that the new policies show that hospitals are trying to see what they can get away with .

“When they have a hard time getting the numbers to add up, they try out new ideas and watch to see how the population and politicians react,” Søgaard told Berlingske. “The demands to make cuts have increased in the health service. For the past decade their budgets grew by three percent a year but now it’s only half a percent. It’s a significant reduction given that demand has not reduced. So they have to try to find areas where they can increase their income, which leads to the health regions introducing fees for non-essential services.”

Rune Weiss Næraa, the head of paediatrics at Aarhus University Hospital, said that hospitals would prefer to charge for food rather than reduce staff.

“Sometimes we are pressured economically into choosing between care, treatment and service,” Næraa told Berlingske. “It can be enormously impractical for some people but we don’t have much choice.”


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