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– The access to respiratory expertise creates a very serious situation for our operations, especially on weekends, says HR director Jan Inge Pettersen at Akershus University Hospital.

A little attractive

On Friday night, the borders with Norway closed. Healthcare professionals from Sweden and Finland have exemptions from the entry ban, but new quarantine regulations have been introduced.

Temporary workers from other countries must be quarantined for three days and take a negative corona test before they can work.

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A health worker from Sweden, for example, must come to Norway on a Tuesday to be able to go on weekend duty.

Due to this, Ahus has lost many intensive care nurses on whom they are completely dependent in the weekly operation. About 30 permanent temps have said they will not come to work.

– Basically, it is a scarce resource. When the permanent substitutes disappear, the capacity becomes even more critical, says the HR director.

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The intensive care nurses who are now absent are mainly Swedes, but also some Danes and Finns.

SERIOUS SITUATION: HR director at Ahus, Jan Inge Pettersen, says capacity becomes critical when the permanent substitutes disappear.

Photo: Ahus

According to Pettersen, local regulations have also been introduced in Sweden where the Swedish substitutes are quarantined for seven to ten days upon return.

This makes it unattractive to come to us and work in Norway, he says.

Can be sent to other hospitals

The hospital has a total of 14 respirator places.

Ten of these are in the intensive care unit. All are in operation on weekdays. On weekends, the number is eight.

The hospital cannot say how many respirators must be used because Nordic intensive care nurses are now absent.

The HR director emphasizes that the hospital will always have sound operations.

Last weekend, five patients were sent to other hospitals. The reason was the lack of intensive care nurses to operate respirators.

Can there be more of this as a result of the situation you are in?

Yes, it could potentially be.

The patient (doll) is treated by intensive care nurses

ILLUSTRATION: This is what it looks like when a patient is treated by intensive care nurses.

Photo: Audun Torsdalen / NRK

This weekend is saved

Several of the intensive care nurses who have now refused to work at Ahus should have been at work this weekend. The hospital has so far managed to fill up the duty lists with the employees they have.

– We have got employees to work extra and employees to come to work who should not have been at work, says the HR director.

But it may be relevant to order people at work.

– Patient treatment must come first. So we have to order people if needed.

Ahus will now investigate whether their temps from the Nordic countries can imagine being in Norway for a longer period. For example, one month at a time so that they avoids karate and entry regulations.

But the hospital believes many do not have the opportunity to do so for private reasons and because they have job obligations elsewhere.

– So I think it will be quite demanding.

Akershus University Hospital has long been dependent on foreign intensive care nurses. The HR director has a long-term wish.

– There is a need to train more intensive care nurses, says HR director Jan Inge Pettersen at Ahus.

Affects hospitals differently

NRK has been in contact with several other hospitals in the capital area. They are affected differently by the new quarantine rules for health workers.

At Lovisenberg Diakonale Hospital, medical monitoring and the intensive care unit will be affected for the next three weeks. Here, 43 guards must be replaced.

Neither Diakonhjemmet nor Bærum Hospital have challenges with operations.

– The entry ban that has now been introduced does not affect our intensive and monitoring capacity, as long as both Swedish and Finnish health workers are still allowed to cross the border to work in Norwegian hospitals, says medical director Anders Debes, at Bærum hospital.

The deacon’s home says they have few employees who have to cross borders.


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