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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Hospitals face huge cuts

Oslo’s university hospitals have been ordered to cut NOK 500 million in costs, to meet their budgets, but top hospital administrator Siri Hatlen thinks it’s only possible to cut half of that without making an already challenging situation for hospital staff and patients even worse.

The hospitals – Ullevål, Rikshospitalet, Radiumhospitalet and Aker – were merged into one giant entity called Oslo universitetssykehus (OUS) in 2009. The idea, according to the state officials that ordered the merger, was to save money but that hasn’t happened, so now newspaper Aftenposten reports that they’re demanding cuts of nearly NOK 50 million (USD 9.6 million) a month.

Hatlen has responded with a claim that her staffs may be able to cut half that amount by laying off some doctors and cutting service at out-patient clinics, but anything more than that would severely affect patient care and result in even longer waiting lists for treatment. The hospitals already face extra costs from early retirement programs, looming wage negotiations and agreed severance pay packages.

Hatlen also wrote to her bosses at local hospital agency Helse Sør-Øst that her staff already has gone through two years of reorganization and cost-cutting caused by the merger, and she was concerned about their work environment and motivation.

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