In a letter to state administrators in Westfold and Telemark, 14 local municipal chief physicians warned of the state of the GP program.
“We are very concerned about future developments. Many municipalities are struggling to prioritize their efforts and overcome challenges. Many municipalities are experiencing a decline in service,” they wrote in the letter.
The letter was written by Sjur Widme Ohren, the municipal chief physician in Tin municipality, with 13 other doctors behind. Says he could not get new doctors.
– Bringing in new doctors is completely impossible. We try all possible possibilities and use large sums of money in municipal funds. We will meet what we think is important for GPs. However, obtaining applicants is completely impossible.
On Sunday Dagbladet wrote about Hans-Conner Ware-Hanson, who has been running a public exercise for nearly 40 years. He GP fears the plan will completely collapse.
– It’s getting worse. Although they come in some form, it is like spraying water on a duck.
– Without medical services
According to the mayor in Tin, many of the lists in the municipality no longer have hired GPs.
– Those patients are without privileges. They don’t get the right to be.
– This gives a lot of distrust to a municipality. They go a long way, but money is not important here. There is a huge recruitment failure across the country, says Ohren Dagbladet.
“In municipalities with a non-doctor list, other colleagues refuse to help anyone other than their own list patients, leaving patients without the services of a general practitioner and depriving patients of their basic rights,” he wrote in a letter to the state administrator.
In Skin’s large urban municipality, Municipal Chief Physician Trudeau Belchet shares the experiences of his colleague at Sandon Tin. He says there is no spare capacity on the list and 3,000 people are on the waiting list.
– Lack of recruitment and no applicants for vacant licenses. This means that more patients with skin lesions now have no GP, but need to see an alternative doctor, says Ohren Dagbladet.
– The situation is challenging, and we are particularly concerned about the non-inclusion of junior physicians in the GP program and the further suspension of GPs in the municipality, the mayor continues.
At the same time, the chief medical officers of the municipality have emphasized in the letter that the GB scheme is continuing as planned in many municipalities in the district.
Have 365 self-report days
Fourteen municipal chief physicians believe more urgent measures are now needed to deal with the crisis. They call for a plan from the authorities and outline several actions they believe can reduce stress in the letter.
One of the measures is to hastily suspend the medical leave scheme in municipalities severely affected by the shortage of GPs. People will get 365 self-declaration days that they can use when they are sick.
In other words, citizens can practically report themselves sick, when, and for how long.
Municipal Chief Physician Sjur Widme Ohren believes that writing sick leave misuses resources in the current situation.
– Now there is very little capacity in the project to meet the need. Some priorities need to be made.
– We need to downgrade what is not so important. Sick leave plan is very rich for GPs. At the same time, it has dubious advantages. Oren says you don’t need to use doctors for that kind of certification work.
“Long-term and fast-growing crisis”
This project is not entirely taken from thin air. The Mandal Municipality undertook a pilot project with the model from 2008 to 2018. As a result the absence of disease is reduced. The government-appointed committee then proposed to introduce such a scheme across the country, but the report was put on hold.
In 2018, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs ordered the Mandal municipality to suspend the project.
For all Norwegian municipalities, municipal chief physicians propose a national plan with a greater number of self-report days, while encouraging people to use self-report days before contacting a physician for sick leave.
Physicians should only participate if there is any doubt about the patient’s health.
Municipal chief physicians in Westfold and Telemark believe the GP program is “in a long-term and rapidly growing national crisis.” They believe the government has a responsibility to resolve the crisis.
“We do not know whether the national authorities are paying enough attention to the crisis situation affecting both the urban and district municipalities. The crisis must be acknowledged and dealt with. Although the GP, the responsibility for the project lies with the municipality, at the very least, the central responsibility lies with the state in formulating the plan.” The doctors wrote a letter to the state administrator.
Cleaning up the GP project is one of the main issues for Health and Care Services Minister Ingvild Kjerkhol. In the state budget, the government set aside 450 new kroner for this purpose.
– We have the GB crisis, Kergol told Dagblatt when the Omigran infection spread across the country in November.
Secretary of State Ellen Moen Rønning-Arnesen (Labor) is responding to the case on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Care Services.
– The GP project has faced major challenges over time. GPs are at the center of our collective health service, so the government is in full swing to do something about this declared crisis, writes Rønning-Arnesen Dagbladet in an email.
He pointed out that the government has set aside about NOK 80 million for recruitment activities.
– Recruitment challenges are complex and we are considering current measures that we believe will have an impact. In the long run, we will look at the organization and funding in detail, and see if we can help other professional groups in the project to a greater extent, ”he writes.
Dagbladet is in contact with the state executive in Westfold and Telemark. They confirm that they received the letter and sent it to the Norwegian Directorate of Health.
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