An overcrowded hospital in Sweden handed patients in a children's ward pots and pans to raise the alarm in an emergency, Swedish news site The Local reported Friday.

High patient numbers forced Ostra Hospital in Gothenburg, southern Sweden, to look beyond the ordinary bedside alarms, with other departments buying in bells for patients to ring to attract attention.

Patients at the hospital were also being relocated to wards where staff lacked the skills to care for them, a report by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare found.

An inspection discovered emergency departments in all nine of western Sweden's hospitals were affected by years of overcrowding.

"We have long ago passed the limit of what is acceptable. This is a huge problem," said the union's Maria Tenggren. "We have for years nagged about the problem of overcrowding, but nothing happens." 

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