Crisis management during epidemics: – Norway opened: Hans-Olav left

Crisis management during epidemics: - Norway opened: Hans-Olav left

Hans-Olav Holderman Eriksson served as mayor of Palsfjord, Storfjord and Lincoln when the outbreak occurred in March 2020.

– The already overburdened health care system had to create something completely new, while at the same time all the existing roles had to be the same. The entire health service received a huge workload overnight, Eriksen tells Doc Platt.

– This showed an impact on the Norwegian health care system. People worked beyond the hours specified in the work environment law, but you can’t escape it when you suddenly have to do it.

Ericsson clarifies that for the first time since the closure of Norway in March 2020, he worked up to a hundred hours a week. After that, Erickson had a few hours a week, but he believes the workload is too high in large areas.

– On my hectic day, I answered 173 phone calls, while Ericsson says I need to control the epidemic in all three municipalities and all work around it.


After 18 months in a very hectic daily life, Ericsson has decided to quit his job. He feels accustomed and notices that he needs a change.

– Now Norway is finally open. Then I did my job and thought I could leave the ship safely. I was determined to endure it when the race hit too hard.

The 45-year-old is somewhat uncertain whether he will return to health care.

– I’m sitting in the think tank now. It saddens me to retire from having good colleagues. It is very emotional.

But at the same time Eriksson admits that he is very relaxed. With great pressure and long working days coming to an end soon, he resigned from his post in December.

– In the event of a crisis, the health service threw itself out and worked so hard for a week or two that it happened many times. This crisis lasted for 18 months and we were not prepared enough for it.

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– Great congestion

When Dougbladet addresses Kirsten Daft, the head of physicians in community medicine, it is clear that municipal chief physicians across the country were in the same shoes as Hans-Olav Erickson.

– It is obvious that the last 18 months have led to a greater burden on municipal superiors, especially in the Norwegian municipalities.

As a result there are now many tired and frustrated municipal chief physicians in the municipality. I know of many who chose to resign, those who considered it, and unfortunately those who fell ill with hardship during that time.

Daft explains that many have worked around the clock to build, create and maintain TISK work (testing, isolation, infection monitoring and isolation) that was central to Norwegian epidemic management.

Many work alone

– Most municipal chief physicians work alone, preferably in part-time positions. In most places it is almost impossible to hire new doctors to be in Norway.

Clear speech: Kirsten Daft knows that doctors in Norway, especially municipal chief physicians, worked very hard during epidemics.  Photo: Medical Associations
Clear speech: Kirsten Daft knows that doctors in Norway, especially municipal chief physicians, work very hard during epidemics. Photo: Medical Associations
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At the same time, Daft expects a municipal chief physician to be available 24/7 in all municipalities from the authorities, the municipal administration and the public.

– Many municipal chief physicians have worked several hours a week, often without compensation, but even worse, no vacation or vacation for the entire period.

Topt says this was confirmed by a survey conducted by the Norwegian Directorate of Health last year, and this is a topic that the Corona Commission is now addressing.

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At the same time, Taft says that not only are municipal chief physicians having problems during epidemics, but we are also currently in the GB crisis.

With the failure of total physician recruitment in municipalities, there is also the GB crisis, which is the foundation of the problem. Because of this, municipal chief physicians also had to contribute to patient-based work during epidemics. This is despite the fact that epidemiological work alone is enough to fill many community medical positions.

– Anxiety

– The mayor we spoke to believes the Norwegian health service and government are not ready for a big event like the epidemic. What do you think about it?

I agree with that. Whatever the purpose and costs of handling in municipalities, I think no one is ready. It is a matter of concern that much of Norway’s epidemiological management policy is based on the voluntary work of municipal superiors in the country’s municipalities.

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– Are there very few doctors in Norway right now?

– There are recruitment challenges for physicians in the municipal health service. This also applies to municipal chief physicians and GPs. At the same time, many physicians are trained to “disappear” into hospitals each year.

– Probably we have very few doctors, at the same time the demand will increase in the future, the population will increase as a result of population growth. But recruitment failure in municipalities is of further concern because it is the cornerstone on which the entire Norwegian health service model is structured.

– It’s serious

Last week, Dagbladet wrote about it Intensive care nurses quit because they were tired, According to Doug Jacobson, department head at Ulleval Hospital. Toft has also noticed this, and everyone in the health service is fully aware of how much they depend on each other.

– In municipalities that do not have standardized medical insurance, there are often congestion and ambiguous responsibilities. This also applies to other staff, which may lead other health care teams to find alternative employment.

– This is serious, we depend on each other in the Norwegian health system.

Secretary of State: – Many points for progress

Speaking at the Ministry of Health and Care Services, Docbladet said it was news that Norway had handled the epidemic well, but that many points of improvement had been found when it came to emergency preparedness, Secretary of State Salipa Andreas Krokunch said.

– The corona epidemic struck us with a purpose and duration imagined. No country is fully prepared for such an event. At the same time, Norway has handled the epidemic well, Gorgunk tells Ducklatt.

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Krokunk believes that Norway has a much more open society with fewer deaths and illnesses than many other countries. He also clarified that the epidemic has had a huge impact on society as a whole, especially children and youth.

– Epidemiology shows that there are many points of improvement when it comes to emergency preparedness, including epidemic control equipment and intensive capacity. We are on the way to facing this. The government has appointed a corona commission to conduct a full and independent review of how the epidemic was handled.

– It is important to learn and equip Norway even better in times of crisis.

Secretary of State: Saliba Andreas Gorgunch is the Minister of State and has been appointed Secretary of State for the Ministry of Health and Care Services in charge of the Govt-19 cases.  Photo: Lise serud / NTB
State Secretary: Saliba Andreas Gorkunch is the Minister of State and has been appointed Secretary of State for the Ministry of Health and Care Services in charge of the Govt-19 cases. Photo: Lise serud / NTB
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Gorgonch would like to point out that municipal leaders across the country have done a fantastic job of mitigating and controlling local epidemic outbreaks during epidemics.

– Unpredictability and frequent changes in advice and orders are challenging. I was well aware that the mayors were in a demanding situation. Many of them had long and demanding work days.

– Are there very few doctors in Norway now?

– We find that there are large differences between municipalities in the burden of the epidemic control task. We know that many municipalities saw the need for additional municipal medical resources during epidemics. The requirements were different and the municipalities solved this in different ways.

He explains that some municipalities have increased their work area or hired new municipal chief physicians. Others brought in other employees who could free up municipal bosses.

– Some municipalities have established inter-municipal cooperation solutions, the Secretary of State concludes.

Hans-Olav Eriksson was one of them who was part of the inter-municipal cooperation solution when he was chief physician in three municipalities through large areas of epidemic.

But he did not leave alone due to heavy workload.

Joshi Akinjide

Joshi Akinjide

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