Stockholm 19 June 2017
The right to healthcare on equal terms
Statement from the Right to Care Initiative
The health care provided today to Undocumented Migrants and EU-migrants is characterized by
significant disparities in knowledge about the legislation and its application. The health care
therefore varies considerably throughout the country. Consequently, people with clear healthcare
needs are still denied treatment to which they are entitled. This is incompatible with basic medical
ethics and unacceptable under the rule of law.
From a patient safety approach, the same basic requirements must be put on all care. To introduce
legal barriers to timely healthcare for the right patient can endanger the patient’s safety and should
for that reason not be accepted.
The present, ambiguous and difficult-to-interpret legislation in Sweden disfavours specifically
vulnerable groups of people. The organizations behind the Right to Care Initiative have in a
statement in November 2013 rejected the term "care that cannot be deferred" as medically
unserviceable and unethical.
EU-migrants who do not have health insurance in their own country are not entitled to subsidized
care at all. In practice, this makes it impossible for them to receive healthcare in Sweden. This is not
humanitarian and is incompatible with Sweden's human rights commitments.
The current situation daily puts healthcare professionals in conflict with the ethical codes of the
professions and amounts to that the prevailing, contradictory legislation may constitute a work
environment hazard, which was also emphasized by the official government inquiry Health Care for
Undocumented Migrants et al. in the year 2011. There are obvious, substantial humanitarian
arguments, as well as a from a public health perspective and national economics, reasons to offer
healthcare on equal terms to each and every one in need of care.
Sweden has committed to respecting the fundamental human rights. The right to the highest
attainable standard of health applies to everyone who resides within the jurisdiction of each state
regardless of legal status. Sweden is obliged to respect, protect and fulfil this right for all.
We therefore call on the Swedish Parliament and Government to immediately ensure that asylum
seekers, undocumented migrants and vulnerable EU-citizens residing in Sweden are entitled to
healthcare as needed and on equal terms regardless of origin or legal status. We expect more
coherent legislation and a clarification of how the legislation is to be applied at the national level.
Sweden has a long tradition of solidarity with vulnerable peoples and communities. In this spirit, it is
consequential, right and decent that a rich, humanitarian and democratic society does not limit
vulnerable people's right to the best possible health through a healthcare or dental care on equal
Associations endorsing the statement
Audionomerna Swedish Association of Audiologists
Dietisternas riksförbund Swedish association of clinical dietitians
IBL The Swedish Institute of Biomedical Science
Svenska barnläkarföreningen The Swedish Paediatric Society
Sveriges farmaceuter Swedish Pharmacists Association
Sveriges läkarförbund Swedish Medical Association
Svenska barnmorskeförbundet The Swedish Association of Midwives
Sveriges psykologförbund Swedish Psychological Association
Svensk förening för röntgensjuksköterskor Swedish Society of Radiographers
Sveriges tandhygienistförening The Swedish Dental Hygienist Association
Sveriges tandläkarförbund Swedish Dental Association
Akademikerförbundet SSR The Union for Professionals
Svenska logopedförbundet Swedish association of Speech and Language Pathologists
Svenska läkaresällskapet The Swedish Society of Medicine
Vårdförbundet the Swedish Association of Health Professionals
Sveriges arbetsterapeuter Swedish Association of Occupational Therapists
Svensk optikerförening Swedish Optometrist Association
Svensk sjuksköterskeförening Swedish Society of Nursing
Fysioterapeuterna Swedish Association of Physiotherapists