State hospital administrators have unveiled plans to shut down the country’s biggest hospital in Oslo, Ullevål University Hospital, and instead build a large new hospital for the capital on the grounds of the national hospital (Rikshospitalet) at Gaustad. They also want to transfer and consolidate cancer treatment and surgery at Radium Hospital on Oslo’s west side and finally are bowing to demands to reopen the Aker Hospital as a local hospital for residents of the Grorud, Stovner and Alna districts.
Many argue that Aker never should have been closed itself several years ago. Critics have been complaining for years over what many call the short-sighted closure of Aker, which resulted in the transfer of tens of thousands patients to Ahus when it opened in Lørenskog. Ahus quickly became over-burdened, and doctors, nurses and local residents who fought hard against Aker’s closure could claim “we told you so” to the administors who had ignored their appeals.
Now Aker is due not only to reopen but expand to serve as a local hospital. City officials have also appealed to open a new emergency clinic at Aker, to relieve the burden on Oslo legevakt, the emergency clinic downtown that serves much of the city.
The pending closure of the huge, sprawling Ullevål Hospital would be such a monumental move that initial reaction was muted because residents simply find it hard to believe it will ever happen. Officials of the regional administrative agency for hospitals in southeast Norway (Helse Sør-Øst) insist it will. They claim it would be even more expensive and impractical to rehabilitate Ullevål’s outdated and run-down facilities, and note that the state could log large gains and offset the cost of building a brand-new hospital, by selling off Ullevål’s large, central area to housing developers.
The entire plan is projected to cost at least NOK 36 billion (USD 4.3 billion). It still needs approval from the state government,