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Health Investments Must Be Increased

Progress Party (FrP) and Conservatives (Høyre)
proposed national budget for 2012 to increase investments. FrP's deputy health
spokesperson Per Arne Olsen said he expects the Minister of Health takes this
matter seriously and comes with immediate action, so that the Norwegian
patients are not put in danger as a result of inadequate health care and old
equipments.

TV2 had previously revealed that an outdated thoracoscope
was broken in the middle of a lung operation. The representative of lung
department at Oslo University asked for new equipment in 2002, but the hospital
has not been able to afford to buy new one. It was also revealed that the
entire 70 percent of medical equipments at the hospital is outdated or needs to
be considered for replacement.

Medical
Failures and Shortage of Equipments Cause Fatalities

The Norwegian health system is usually criticized
due to heavy bureaucracy and treatment failures. Last month, Dagbladet reported
the doctors offices Oslo University Hospital only get washed once a month due
to financial issues, and patients with open wounds are at risk of becoming
infected.

Additionally, a national report by Norwegian
Knowledge Centre for Health Services (Nasjonalt kunnskapssenter for
helsetjenesten) had showed the extent of patient injuries at Norwegian
hospitals.

The report had showed that a total of 100,000
patients were injured, while 4500 of them died at the hospitals as a result of
wrong treatments.

The failures come from unexpected complications,
hospital infections, shortage of technical equipments, misuse of drugs, failure
of procedures and poor hygiene at hospitals. The report points that at least
half of 4500 deaths could be avoided with basic precautions.

Health
Care System in Norway

All Norwegians and resident permit holders are
insured by the National Insurance Scheme. This is a universal, tax-funded,
single-payer health system. Compared to France, Italy, Spain and Japan, Norway
has the most centralized system.

The National Insurance Scheme is funded by general
tax revenues. There is no earmarked tax for health care. The Norwegian tax
burden is 45% of GDP. The government sets a global budget limiting overall
health expenditures and capital investment.

Waiting
Times

There are significant waiting times for many
procedures. Many Norwegians go abroad for medical treatments. The average
weight for a hip replacement is more than 4 months. “Approximately 23 percent
of all patients referred for hospital admission have to wait longer than three
months for admission.” Also, care can be denied if it is not deemed to be
cost-effective.

Norway's Health Care System on CNN

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