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Health director Bjorn Guldvok wanted to be fired when the pandemic hit - VG

Health director Bjorn Guldvok wanted to be fired when the pandemic hit – VG

Popular view: Bent Hoy and Bjorn Guldvok at one of the many press conferences about the coronavirus in 2021.

Former Health Minister Bent Hoy (H) feared that Health Director Bjorn Guldvok was not strong enough and therefore proposed to replace him.

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When the pandemic hit Norway, Hoy wanted his own ministerial adviser, Bjorn-Inge Larsen, to take the helm instead.

Larsson declined, instead recommending former FHI director Keir Stene-Larsson and Espen Rostrup Nakstad to strengthen the team.

It’s featured in a new book by a former health minister “Unrest in the Age of Corona”It comes out on Saturday.

The internal drama unfolded two and a half years ago.

On March 9, 2020, met and consulted with Health Director Guldwok and FHI Director Camilla Stoltenberg at the Health Directorate. Hoy says the former will tighten up, while the latter will take it a little further.

Watch the video: Do ​​you remember Høie speaking to the youth?

– Refused to set foot

This disagreement led him to express to his ministerial adviser Larsson after the meeting that “it’s not going to work”: he was worried whether Guldvok was strong enough to lead such a crisis.

“He refused to put his foot down when experts at Stoltenberg and the FHI disagreed with him and the Directorate of Health”, writes Høie.

Haye is one of several health professionals who have picked up the pen in the past year: assistant director of health Espen Nakstad, FHI Director Camilla Stoltenberg and Oslo City Council President Raymond Johansson (Ap) had earlier given its views on the pandemic.

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Hoy’s book was co-authored with Joran Lidland, He was Hay’s interlocutor at the Ministry of Health.

Right hand: Bjørn-Inge Larsen is the ministry’s highest-ranking permanent civil servant. The minister should be released and advised.

“Strengthen the team around Bjørn Guldvog”

Høie describes Kuldwok as a man who dislikes conflict and is eager to reach an agreement, which are essentially good qualities when you have time for discussions.

“But now we don’t have that, and the infection spreads rapidly in the first days of March,” Hoy writes.

So Hoy asked his own ministerial adviser, formerly the director of health, to take over the administration:

“Bjørn-Inge Larsen blurted out. He didn’t think it was a good idea. But the minister looked at it like me and thought of a solution. He said, ‘We need to strengthen the team around Bjørn Guldvog,'” the book says.

Director of Health: Björn Guldvok after a press conference on the corona situation in Marble Hall on 13 January 2022.

Health director Guldvok tells VG that he hasn’t read the book:

– but I take it with me that Bent Hoy concludes that I have exceeded expectations. It’s always good. “I share the assessment that the leadership in the Norwegian Directorate of Health needs to be strengthened in the circumstances we are facing,” he writes in an email.

Guldwok’s view changed

The former health minister admitted it took a lot of effort to get involved.

“Interference was almost unheard of. But the director of health did not react negatively,” writes Hoy.

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Instead, he gave the impression of appreciating the reinforcements.

“My view of Bjorn Guldvok completely changed after this. Once he got the right people around him, he became a clear leader. The decision to close the country and the end of the shutdown probably strengthened confidence in him. The Cabinet did not support my proposal, but I offered the solution to make the Director of Health the leader we need. Delighted,” Hoy writes in the book.

– almost unheard of

So they brought in former FHI director Geir Stene-Larsen and Espen Rostrup Nakstad, who worked at the CBRNE Center at Oslo University Hospital.

However, it didn’t go entirely according to plan: in March 2020, Steen-Larsson contracted the corona virus, and he and many others around him did not make it to his place before being quarantined. Thus it was Nuckstad who took the media by storm and became a media favorite, writes Hi.

VG has been in contact with Høie, who did not want to comment, ahead of the book’s publication.