State-run Oslo University Hospital, which encompasses some of the capital’s largest hospitals, already is facing severe budget pressure in the midst of a costly merger. Now another state agency, this one in charge of labour issues, is threatening to shut down parts of the hospitals because of their failure to correct workplace violations.
An inspector for labour regulator Arbeidstilsynet told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that conditions at both Ullevål and Radium Hospitalet “are very critical.” He said the regulators had uncovered maintenance deficiencies, dangerous storage of cancer-causing chemicals and mold in the hospitals’ physical plant.
“In addition there are broken windows and poor ventilation in large areas of the hospital buildings,” inspector Bengt Eriksson told NRK. The hospitals already have been under criticism this week because of laundry problems that have forced some hospital staff to use the same uniform as many as four days in a row. That comes on top of reports of technical trouble in transmitting patient information, long delays for cancer treatment and the budget problems that led to the resignation of hospital boss Siri Hatlen last month.
Eriksson called the workplace conditions “completely irresponsible” and his agency was threatening to close off entire hospital areas unless management finally takes concrete measures to address improvements. Hospital officials and regulators were meeting on Wednesday to discuss the problems.
Views and News staff