Do not operate on patients with bowel cancer

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Local hospitals have been arguing about cancer surgery. Now the patients are sent to Bodø.

The doctors at Helgeland Hospitals will not operate on patients with bowel cancer. Photo: Helgeland Hospital

The board of Helse nord has decided that patients with bowel cancer should not be operated on at Helgeland hospitals. They must be sent to Bodø.

If there is a danger to life, specialists in Bodø or Tromsø must be consulted before bowel cancer patients are operated on at the local hospitals.

Two local hospitals operate today

The hospitals in Mo i Rana and Sandnessjøen are subject to Helgeland Hospital. Bowel cancer patients have so far been operated on at both hospitals.

Aftenposten recently wrote about the high mortality rates after colon cancer operations at Sandnessjøen hospital in the period 2016–2018. This led to the Norwegian Board of Health moving out earlier this week.

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Temporary halt in bowel cancer operations at Sandnessjøen Hospital for patient safety reasons

It was first decided to gather the operations from the two hospitals at Mo i Rana. According to Cecilie Daae, CEO of Helse nord, it did not create calm among patients, relatives or the population. She says questions were asked about the collaboration between the two professional environments.

Daae believes that there will be more peace and predictability for patients by temporarily moving the bowel cancer surgery to Bodø and possibly the university hospital in Tromsø.

Employees and shop stewards are furious

The fact that all bowel cancer operations are transferred to Bodø came as a surprise to most people. It will take place from 19 October.

The decision was made at a board meeting in Helse nord on Thursday. Board chair Cecilie Daae sent out the proposal on Wednesday night.

Even before the meeting, there was a riot among employees at Mo i Rana. They call the decision a collective punishment.

In a press release, they write that quality work has become a political game. They accuse Cecilie Daae of increasing the level of conflict in Helgeland Hospital.

This rejects Daae.

– This is not a punishment. It is a measure to ensure predictable and equal health services for patients with bowel cancer. It is part of our responsibility. We must fulfill the patient’s right to immediate and necessary health care, she says.

Requires response from Bent Høie

Mayor Geir Waage (AP) in Rana municipality demands that Bent Høie get involved.

– We do not trust the management and board of Helse nord. The minister must be on the field, he says.

Rana municipality will request a meeting with the minister immediately.

The mayor agrees with the employees at Mo i Rana that Helse nord has carried out a collective punishment. He says this affects the patients on Helgeland.

Impossible to follow the board meeting

The meeting, which was to be open, was impossible to follow directly for both the public and the press because Helse nord did not have the technical possibilities to transmit via the internet. The management of Helse nord still chose to complete the meeting.

The rapporteur also responds to this.

– This is a breach of due process. The papers did not arrive until the night before. The board meeting was conducted without either the population, employees or the media agreeing with what was said.

Cecilie Daae regrets that it was not possible to hear what was said. She says it was an extraordinary board meeting and that the management related to it in the right way,

– But the problems with streaming were very desperate. We wanted an open board meeting. We showed that there was great interest in this. The largest part of the board meeting is posted later, she says.

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