Apparently reporting from Stockholm, The Guardian's Polly Toynbee has given her British readers an interesting portrayal of Swedish politics. Her objective, to associate the Conservatives with allegedly failed policies of a centre-right government. However, Ms Toynbee provides her readers with nothing but inaccuracies and misconceptions.
She claims Swedish GPs are "free to charge for the first time", which has caused them to move out of poor areas to richer places where they can earn more. The truth is a reform has been introduced in Stockholm, where tax money now follows the patients. Patients can choose which GPs they want to see and GPs are paid by the Stockholm County Council per patient they treat. GPs have not moved from poorer areas, on the contrary services have improved and the number of visits to GPs in some of the poorest areas of Stockholm have gone up by 30 percent.
Curiously Ms Toynbee asserts that "state-owned liquor stores are about to be sold off" in Sweden. One might wish this was the case, but in fact a review commissioned by the Government has proposed the sale of a limited number of pharmacies, not liquor stores, a move long awaited by pharmaceutical staff now employed by a state monopoly. This monopoly is unique in Europe and has left Sweden with fewer pharmacies per capita than most other countries.