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Friday, February 23, 2024

Hospital director forced to quit

The top official at the state-owned hospital for Asker and Bærum, just west of Oslo, had to resign late last week, after an investigation revealed widespread manipulation of patients’ records that could have delayed their treatment.

“This is the price I have to pay,” Dr Erik Omland, age 61, told newspaper Aftenposten. Omland, who worked at the hospital for 32 years, had to take responsibility for what even health care officials are calling a “scandal” of unprecedented dimensions in Norway.

An investigation into alleged fraud at Asker og Bærum sykehus showed that more than 1,000 patients could have been affected by manipulation of the dates on which they prescribed ongoing treatment. Health authorities are bracing for claims from patients, especially cancer patients, whose treatments were delayed by the date manipulation.

Omland claims he was “shocked” when he discovered “what had been going on under my leadership.” He claimed lack of knowledge about it, perhaps because he had spent most of last year acting as temporary leader for the newly merged Oslo University Hospital and because the state agency in charge of the hospital in Bærum (Vestre Viken) was undergoing reorganization itself.

Omland said he was sorry to go, but felt it would be easier for the hospital to regain confidence under new leadership.

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