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Waiting times in the healthcare system must be markedly reduced

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Health and Care Minister Jan Christian Vestre (Ap) promises that waiting times in the health sector will decrease during the year and next year. Photo: Frederik Ringnes / NTB

Of NTB | 13.05.2024 10:40:18

Medicine and health: – We will work together in new ways to reverse the trend and ensure a decrease in the average waiting time in 2024 and 2025, so that there will be a marked reduction in waiting times during the period, says Health Minister Jan Christian Vestre (Ap).

Waiting times in hospitals have increased since 2017. Today, you have to wait an average of 15 days longer than you had to seven years ago. Part of the reason is the corona pandemic, Vestre explains.

– Through a binding tripartite collaboration, we will make arrangements to adopt all good measures that work, he says.

Vestre presented the collaboration at a press conference on Monday together with the Trade Union, the Norwegian Nurses’ Association, the Norwegian Medical Association, Delta, the Psykologforeningen, Spekter, Virke, NHO Geneo and the regional health organisations.

Current measures are better division of responsibilities and tasks, appropriate working time arrangements, outpatient clinics open in the evening and at weekends, fewer reporting requirements, and cooperation with private actors in agreement with and prioritization of the public sector.

– The trade union and our representatives are happy that the health minister shares our concern about increased waiting times, and that he is looking to the parties in working life to find solutions, says Mette Nord, head of the trade union.

There is a need to change the way healthcare personnel work, says Nord.

– Employees must be given full, permanent positions, work tasks must be distributed better and the workload must be reduced, she says.

– We applaud the Minister of Health’s response which has led to this important national partnership and look forward to concrete measures and increased funding, she says.

President of the Medical Association, Anne-Karin Rime, believes there is a need for, among other things, increased investment, more doctors and more personnel in hospitals.

– The capacity challenges in the hospitals are due to underfunding and unrealistic efficiency requirements over a long period of time, she says.

In order to reduce waiting times, the focus will be on three tracks: healthcare personnel, innovation and collaboration.

Lill Sverresdatter Larsen, head of the Norwegian Nurses Association, is also happy about the initiative from the government.

(© NTB)

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