The hospital itself reports on Thursday night that they have implemented extraordinary measures due to the large influx of patients.
– In recent days, there has been a high occupancy rate in the hospital, and we have seen ourselves forced to implement extraordinary measures to receive patients in a good way, says CEO Hege Gjessing at Østfold Hospital.
It is especially in the medical disciplines that the hospital is experiencing great demand.
– A demanding operating situation
– There are no special diseases or conditions that stand out. We have seen an increased influx of patients in all the internal medicine disciplines such as heart, infection, geriatrics and pulmonary medicine in addition to neurology. This has given us a demanding operating situation with high overcrowding in the residential areas, says clinic manager Volker Solyga in the clinic for medicine.
The situation means that the hospital has implemented several measures to increase capacity both in terms of staffing and physical areas.
The planned activities in the hospital have been reduced and employees from surgical activities and outpatient clinics are now assisting the 24-hour areas.
In addition, employees in the 24-hour areas take on overtime and extra shifts.
– I am very happy and grateful for the extra effort that the employees are now putting in, says Gjessing.
Turn office into patient room
The large influx means that more patients than normal have to lie in the hallway.
– In this situation, it is inevitable that patients must lie on the corridor. As far as possible, we use available capacity at other subject areas in the hospital and put two patients in the same room. Nevertheless, there are now corridor patients in all 24-hour areas, says Solyga.
The hospital must think alternatively in such a situation and is now working to make new areas ready for use by patients.
– We have an area in the hospital that is normally used for teaching and offices. It is now being cleaned to be used for bed rooms. At the same time, we are working to ensure staffing for these beds, says Solyga.
Sends patients to Oslo
When there is a large demand, the hospitals in Health South-East cooperate. Østfold Hospital is therefore now receiving assistance from Oslo University Hospital (OUS).
– We have made an agreement with OUS that they can receive patients from our admission area for a limited period. This means that up to around 20 patients a day can be admitted to OUS’s hospitals instead of Kalnes. This will ease the pressure on our emergency room and our 24-hour areas, and I really appreciate that OUS assists us, says Gjessing.
Østfold Hospital is still on yellow alert. And the emergency management follows the development closely.
– We are in close dialogue with the municipalities in the catchment area. The situation is now demanding for both the municipal health service and us in the hospital. At the same time, we are preparing for the fact that there may be even more patients as a result of increased corona infection in the population, says Gjessing.
Støre is concerned about hospital capacity
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labor Party) tells TV 2 that he is concerned about the capacity of Norwegian hospitals.
Støre expresses concern about the burden on the hospitals and says it is necessary to go through the organization of Norwegian hospitals.
– We have to go through how our hospitals are organized, how they can respond to such situations, says Støre.
He points to the intensive care capacity and how many can be treated urgently.
– I’m worried about what I now see in the hospitals. That some normal operations, which have nothing to do with omikron, are postponed because they have to move personnel to handle this, says Støre.
– Are you saying that it is not sustainable as it is today?
– No, we need to do a review to constantly learn and strengthen our hospitals so that they can serve the people, simply. It means being able to handle a pandemic, but of course it also means that we must be able to do services whether it is to have an operation, change a hip, do things that people need in society, he says.