State health care officials have scrapped plans to built a giant new hospital in Oslo that would further merge several existing hospitals and cost NOK 40 billion (USD 5.3 billion). The scrapping raised hopes that Oslo’s old but centrally located Aker Hospital may be refurbished and reopened.
The managing director of Oslo University Hospital, Bjørn Erikstein, confirmed to TV2 earlier this week that it was unrealistic to seek financing for the big new hospital project. “We have had a round of hearings and listened to the input we’ve received,” Erikstein said. “We have also conducted a comprehensive, external study of all alternatives and now see that consensus on a new hospital site at Gaustad is not realistic.”
Carl I Hagen of the Progress Party is among city politicians already urging that Aker Hospital be re-established as a refurbished local hospital for the heavily populated Groruddalen area of Oslo. All residents in the area needing hospitalization were transferred to the new Akershus University Hospital (Ahus) in Lørenskog, but it has lacked capacity to care for them all.
Hagen told newspaper Dagsavisen that the state government “must now reestablish Aker as quickly as possible, until a new and modern hospital is built in Oslo.” Aker had also served those living in Ski, Oppegård, Ås, Nesodden, Vestby and Frogn, all of whom were also transferred to Ahus, but Hagen noted it is “acutely overloaded.”
Jan Bølher of the Labour Party agreed for once with Hagen, noting that Aker has usable facilities and can be expanded at its central location at Sinsen. Bøhler noted that given Oslo’s rapidly growing population, it’s important to expand hospital and health care capacity.