Wednesday, January 19

The Norwegian Directorate of Health: Half of Norwegian municipalities have significant challenges with health personnel

NEW ROUND: The government is now making an assessment of what measures Norway will have after 14 January. in a contingency meeting this week, Director of Health Bjørn Guldvog describes challenges in the municipalities.

In a contingency meeting on Wednesday, Director of Health Bjørn Guldvog pointed out that Norway must have “sufficient national measures” to flatten out an impending wave of infections.


It appears in a meeting minutes VG has had access to.

In the meeting on 5 January, with, among others, FHI, the state administrators and the regional health authorities, Director of Health Bjørn Guldvog informed whether Norway was ready to handle a new and larger wave.

And because the government has justified the strict Norwegian measures with pressure on the health service, the description of the situation in the health care system now, can be decisive for what measures they land on in the future.

City councilor Raymond Johansen believes, for example, that the municipalities themselves should be allowed to decide the level of measures after 14 January.

This is what the director of health said about the situation

The minutes state that health director Guldvog highlighted a shortage of personnel in the municipalities – and that around half of the municipalities have “significant challenges”.

– 172 municipalities report challenging or critical access to personnel and critical competence. This means that approximately 50 per cent of the municipalities have significant challenges with access to health personnel, especially doctors and nurses, the report states.

– The municipalities find it demanding to maintain capacities with GPs, in the emergency department, in home services and in institutions. The shortage of personnel also applies to tasks such as vaccination, testing and infection tracking, it further states that Guldvog said.

Guldvog believed that “health services are under particular pressure in urban areas with high levels of infection – such as in Oslo and Viken”. According to the minutes, he pointed out that municipalities mobilize with voluntary organizations, businesses and so on to provide enough people – and cooperate with neighboring municipalities.

– The municipalities have, despite this, limited personnel capacity, and it is therefore important to have sufficient national measures to level out the impending wave of infections, it is stated in the minutes that Guldvog said.

He pointed out that Norway is at the beginning of an omicron wave of infections. In the meeting, FHI also emphasized that they expect a significant increase in infection in the coming weeks.

See Assistant Health Director Espen Nakstad answer why there is a shortage of staff:

Delayed vaccination

How the vaccination goes can also be decisive for further measures.

At the meeting, subject director Frode Forland gave a presentation in which he points out that Norway is late in reaching the vaccine target.

– The goal before Christmas was that everyone over the age of 45 has received a refresher dose by week 2 in 2022, Forland points out in the presentation.

But not as many doses were given at Christmas as planned.

– Approximately 720,000 doses were sent out for use in the municipalities in weeks 51 and 52; about 420,000 doses were not set, he writes.

– It is a prerequisite for achieving the goal that the delay from weeks 51 and 52 is brought into weeks 1 and 2, Forland writes in the presentation.

According to the minutes of the meeting, the state administrators reported that most municipalities have the capacity to put vaccines, but that there is a lack of arms to put them in.

– This is partly due to the fact that many have not had a long enough time period since dose two, but also that many are absent from vaccination hours and that some are skeptical of a dose three, it is stated in the minutes.

About the situation in the hospitals

The regional health authorities also reported on their capacity according to the minutes of the meeting.

  • Health South-East reported according to the minutes of the meeting about a «intensive load of 108 percent» and that «staffing challenges result in a significant reduction in the number of operations, and it is planned for a reduced number of operations
    both in weeks 1 and 2 ».
  • Health West reported according to the minutes of a demanding Christmas with a high number of hospitalized patients, many of whom stay for a long time.
  • Health North reported according to the minutes that they are working to “address the elective capacity that has been reduced” and that the main challenge is personnel “.
  • Health Central reported that omicrons make up 84 per cent of the infection “and that they have challenges associated with a high level of sickness absence”, the minutes state.

City councilor Raymond Johansen went hard on Thursday and demanded answers about how much pressure the hospitals really are. Here you can read what the Minister of Health replied.

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