It’s election campaign season in Norway, meaning the government is suddenly announcing some major new spending projects. Opposition parties are promising the same, and this week the beneficiaries were hospitals.
Finance Minister Siv Jensen of the Progress Party announced the government will invest NOK 3 billion in the national cancer hospital in Oslo, Radiumhospitalet. The money will be used to construct a new clinic building on the grounds of the hospital at Montebello on the capital’s west side.
The project was initiated after complaints from patients, not least from some wealthy Norwegian businessmen who offered to finance improvements themselves. The state will now take over, with construction due to start in 2019 and be completed in 2022.
The Labour Party, meanwhile, announced this week that it would spend NOK 12 billion on hospital improvements in Norway if enough votes on September 11 allow it to take over government leadership
In the northern city of Alta, meanwhile, thousands of residents marched in a demonstration calling for a hospital of their own. Norway’s northernmost county of Finnark only has two hospitals, one in Kirkenes and one in Hammerfest. Alta, with 20,000 residents, wants better accessbility for emergencies and a delivery room, especially because of the area’s harsh winters. Government minister Terje Søviknes of the Progress Party and Liberal Party leader Trine Skei Grande took part in the demonstration and promised their support.