When the 2016 financial year is summarised, as the newly appointed County Council Finance Commissioner, I am pleased to note that the County Council reported a surplus for the tenth consecutive year. Passengers in public transport are incredibly satisfied, most of all with the Metro. External measurements also show that the residents are satisfied with healthcare. Eight out of ten are positive to the emergency medical care they received and eight out of ten can recommend their general practitioner. We have among Sweden’s shortest queues to specialist healthcare. Balanced finances, well-functioning public transport and high-quality healthcare characterised by freedom of choice are proof of the extensive work done by all of employees of the County Council and private contractors during the year. For this, I would like to direct a warm thank you to all of you. You make a difference to the residents of Stockholm County!
The 2016 surplus after transition costs of SEK 808 million provides the County Council a strong financial base from which to take on the major challenges facing the Stockholm region. The County grew by 37,600 new Stockholm residents last year, which means more patients and passengers that need healthcare and public transport. Our residents expect health care and medical services that are available when needed and reliable public transport that makes daily life easier. At the same time, we have excessively long waiting times for some treatments in specialist care that must be cut, overloading at the emergency hospitals that has to be resolved and a need for greater capacity in public transport that should cover the strong population growth. In addition to this, becoming a better employer to be able to attract and retain more employees is an absolute must in the short term.
Coming from Småland, I feel that every bit of wasted tax funding is tantamount to theft from the County’s patients and passengers. We should become Sweden’s most efficient county council and use every single Krona in tax funding in the best possible way. My highest priority is to free up resources from bureaucracy that should instead go to the core operations. This includes removing obstacles in the workday of our 45,000 employees – and contractors – so that you can devote more time to patients and passengers and less time to administration and red tape. This is why the work on a more efficient County Council being led by our new County Council CEO Malin Frenning will be especially important in the upcoming year.
We should take on the challenges we face in the County with the knowledge that the residents have justifiably high expectations of the County Council and the work we all do. I am looking forward to meeting and exceeding those expectations together with you, our entrepreneurs and the County’s municipalities in the upcoming year.
County Council Finance Commissioner