Reply from Ministry of Health about treatment of "terminal" cancer patients

Written by Lars Haakon Soraas

We got a quick reply from two bureaucrats in the Norwegian Ministry of Health on my rather long email to the ministry. The ministry, presumably in sympathy with the disasterous or non-existing IT systems that flourish at Norway’s hospitals, uses snail mail. I paste in the letter below. For those in a hurry (or don’t speak Norwegian), here is a summary:

  • The ministry of health don’t get the point or they just don’t care. In any case, they don’t plan to do anything about it.

So, young and terminally ill patients will continue dying in Norwegian hospitals without doctors even trying to come up with promising treatment ideas. In the meantime, our minister of health, Bent Høie, is busy defending the government’s pet project, the “fritt behandlingsvalg” (free choice of treatment). It turn’s out this project was just a rebranding of a previous government’s pet project called “fritt sykehusvalg” (free choice of hospital). In any case, both of these pet projects have been so poorly implemented that they are less userfriendly that Altinn (Norwegians will know what I am talking about…).

I guess I have lived long enough to understand that it is impossible to convince people who don’t want to be convinced. If Norway’s top health bureaucrats and the political leadership of the ministry of health believe all is well, then I will not be able to convince them otherwise. The only thing that will make things crystal clear for them is if they themselves, or someone they love, end up in a similar situation. Until then, I hereby give up my attempt to try to reform this part of Norway’s health care system.

160707 Brev fra HOD - side 1 160707 Brev fra HOD - side 2

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