County councils and regions are responsible for ensuring that everyone living in Sweden has good health and equal access to good healthcare. Healthcare is largely tax financed. The principle of local self-government gives the county councils and regions the right to design and structure their activities in the light of local conditions.
The foundation of the Swedish healthcare system is the community healthcare centres. At these healthcare centres patients can be treated for all the health problems that do not require the technical and medical resources of the hospitals. Preventive health work is an important element of primary care. Highly specialized care and medical treatment are provided by hospitals.
Although dental care is provided by both public and private providers, the county councils and regions have an overall responsibility for the provision of dental care. Dental care is free of charge for all children and young people up to the age of 19.
In most counties, public transport is operated by the county council, often together with the municipalities. The transport services are operated by private providers contracted by the regional public transport authority.
Three county councils (Skåne, Västra Götaland and Halland) and one municipality (Gotland) are on top of this also responsible for issues concerning regional development. For that reason they are called Regions instead of county councils.
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