(Published in Aftenposten (link is to english version) Aften Friday June 27th 2008 page 19. Translation slightly adjusted and abridged for non-Norwegian readers))
To wait year after year for a operation that is expected to enhance my level of function is meaningless and represents an irresponsible management of our society’s common economic funds. The Norwegian Government is pumping out enormous amounts of unnecessary welfare-money to patients that are forced to wait for a considerably long time for their solution in health-queues.
I have recently become deaf and I am a father of a lively 8 year old. I have waited for more than one year here in Norway for a operation known as Cochlea-implants. This operation is available at Rikshospitalet and is designed to give me improved speech comprehension. The level of functioning and performing will most likely be radically improved as a result. Rikshospitalet has given me a guarantee of treatment expiring early 2010! (it means that before that date, I have no other options than to wait for the hospital to offer me the treatment. After that date, I am eligible to get the surgery done in another country and thus covered by the Norwegian state.)
Really expensive health-queues
It is pure madness that medically disabled people aren’t treated fast in order to step back into the lines of tax-contributing citizens. As a receiver of medical welfare I burden the society with tens of thousands of Norwegian crowns every month. I am a IT-worker and Norway screams for more heads and has done so for a long time now.
Within this last year the sum of welfare spent on me is the equivalent of a complete surgery on one ear. As I write this I estimate that it has reached the amount equivalent to simultaneous surgery on both ears.
The real results
I watched the process of cutbacks at Rikshospitalet a while back with disbelief. I was interviewed about this on NRK about this on February 27th this year.
Where is the connection between health and welfare in Norway? The money is far better spent on faster treatment of patients. Isn’t that an obvious investment??
The Norwegian Parliament authorized the establishment of a 604 million NOK foundation in 2007 called “Faster back to work”. The funding of this foundation continues and are even expanded in 2008. This foundation can be the beginning of what I think is needed.
Why can not Rikshospitalet apply for funding from this foundation for my CI-operation? Can someone explain to me why the guarantee for my surgery has been set to 3 years at Rikshospitalet? Who decided this and what criteria is the basis of the decision? In my opinion it would be better if I had been given the freedom to seek my treatment elsewhere given the fact that the Norwegian health-system know I have to wait 2 or 3 years first!
New dogma for a new time
I challenge all parties involved to think of everybody who wait for health improving operation as valuable clients/customers for the hospitals and society! If the hospitals fail to meed the demand for treatment, I believe it is about time we allow for immediate international treatment. The capacity exist in other countries, and economically we all save money by doing so!