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Previa – from Statshälsan to Falck

Working life


A lot has happened in occupational healthcare since Previa was established in 1980. It will soon be time to take another step forward. Previa's brand will become Falck and we will switch from being Sweden's largest occupational healthcare provider to becoming the leading health company in the Nordic region.

“Statshälsan (The State Health Service) was created at a time when interest in work environment, healthcare and prevention was starting to really take hold in terms of public awareness.” This is the start of the book Statshälsan och Previa en tillbakablick [Statshälsan and Previa Looking Back] published in 1996, because Previa has such a long history that it can fill a whole book.

When Previa was founded in 1980, under the name Statshälsan, it was the first occupational health service for government employees in Sweden. Right from the start, around 128,000 state employees had access to health services, but it was only in 1995 that Statshälsan became Previa. The name was changed as part of a merger with Bygghälsan, which was founded back in 1968 as one of Sweden's first corporate health providers, and Previa has continued to grow over the years ever since.

Annsofie sees soft values gaining ground

One long-time Previa employee is Annsofie Thorstensson. She is a physiotherapist/ergonomist and medical technology coordinator at Previa in Borås. She became part of Previa in 1996 when Bygghälsan and Previa merged.

– One reason I stayed at Previa is that I find it an exciting place to work. My role has been filled with a variety of things and I have been involved in projects that have made it feel stimulating.

During her 26 years with the company, Annsofie has seen first-hand how occupational health has changed and evolved. She thinks that Previa's common thread has always been systematic management of the work environment from different perspectives, but the ways of working have changed as development has progressed.  

– We do things today that I didn't think were possible. For example, digital workplace visits, consultations and follow-ups, which work very well today.”

– The orderers for our services are another thing that has changed. Instead of focusing on hard numbers as we did before, soft results and values are given more priority nowadays. I feel that HR today does not think the same way as the HR of the past.”

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Instead of focusing on hard numbers as we did before, soft results and values are given more priority nowadays.

Anette's previous role was taken over by computerisation

Anette André has worked in occupational health for most of her working life. She has already been through a rebranding process since she joined, when Gävlehälsan became part of Previa in 2011. She now works with business support, administration and customer service at Previa in Gävle, but she had a different role when she started.

– I'm essentially a medical secretary, but those jobs are almost non-existent at Previa nowadays. My role has changed a lot since I started because of computerisation, but I do what I can to help our physicians to make their job easier.

Anette feels that occupational healthcare used to be much more medical than it is now. The focus was largely on work-related physical symptoms, but in the 1990s psychosocial issues began to increase.

– We didn’t employ behavioural scientists and psychologists until around the turn of the millennium. At that time, there was a tougher working environment in general and stress increased. New needs arose and the demand for more supportive counselling increased.

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We didn’t employ behavioural scientists and psychologists until around the turn of the millennium.

Changes affecting health at work 

The initial role of the occupational health service was to provide support for work-related illnesses. There is now a major focus on stress, and the social and organisational working environment. This is one of a series of changes that are advancing the approach to the working environment and health. 

If we look back over the past few years, we have seen new needs arise and unforeseen events take place. We have had to make changes and think in new ways. We are dealing with the expectation for us to work longer into old age, new technology that has contributed to removing boundaries around work, and a digital working environment, as well as the rapid changes facing the world of work during the pandemic.  

Today, Previa is present throughout Sweden and has contracts with 8,000 employers with a total of 1.2 million employees. We are now taking the next step in our own development to contribute to even more sustainable and healthy workplaces.

Read more about how Previa will become Falck