Commuting may lead to divorce.
Commuting to work can mean financial advantages, and it can also be great for your career. Sometimes, it also means you won’t have to change your address. But commuting also takes a toll on the relationships with friends and family and may lead to stress and health problems. Cultural geographer Erika Sandow at Umeå University has mapped out the effects of long time commuting on relations and salaries in a recent study, in which 2 million Swedes who were either married or lived together participated. Her results show that men benefit financially on commuting, and that many of these men are also fathers to small children. Many who commute continue to do so for at least five years. It also shows that long commuters have a 40% higher risk getting divorced than those who do not commute.

Sweden spends most on geriatric care
Among OECD (Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development), Sweden is the country that spends most money on geriatric care compared to the size of its economy. Sweden is also the country that has most employees in geriatric care. The new OECD-report Help Wanted? shows that 3.6% of Sweden’s gross national income was spent on geriatric care in 2008, compare that to 2.2% spent on the care of the elderly by Netherlands (they came in second) and 2.2% spent by Norway and Finland, who tied for a third spot. It is clear that Sweden is one of the countries that to a great deal supports its’ geriatric care by tax money, which is something the OECD also recommends. This however also raises the question: How to make the money last as the number of old people increases, the report states.

Lack of surgeons
Obese people living in the south of Sweden (Skåne) will have to wait in line for gastric bypass surgery operations, because of a shortage of surgeons. More and more Swedes undergo gastric bypass surgery, which means the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower “remnant” pouch. Afterwards, the patient can only eat small portions and thus lose weight. The operation is popular but Skåne has the longest period of waiting. This year 800 operations will be carried out, out of them 650 will be done by the private company Aleris. “We have already increased the number of operations, but every month we have 140-150 new patients coming in to see us. It’s easy to see that we need more operations in order to avoid extreme waiting periods,” says Carl Johan Sonesson, chairman of the hälso-och sjukvårdsnämnden (Commission Board for Health and Medical Treatment) in Region Skåne. The problem is the lack of surgeons in Skåne. “We have great capacities when it comes to operating rooms, but not enough people who can operate. The few we have are already busy at work in Lund and Landskrona,” says Lars Kristensson, Director of Production at Region Skåne. “We must teach more surgeons so that they eventually gain competence in this field.” But it is also a question of priority: Patients with malignant diseases naturally come first.