Emergency Ward Often A "Little Tourist Office" - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Emergency Ward Often A “Little Tourist Office”

Published March 18, 2016

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Workers at the emergency ward of Landspítali hospital reportedly often find themselves doing the job of a tourist office.

Tourism has been increasingly dramatically in Iceland, with 2 million visitors predicted this year alone. As such, this brings with it an increasing number of tourist visits to the emergency ward. RÚV reports that in many cases, this can lead to medical staff performing duties normally associated with a tourism office.

“It is precisely the employees who have opened, as we say, a little tourist office,” emergency nursing specialist Guðbjörg Pálsdóttir told reporters. “Nurses, with the help of secretaries, check in on hotels and change flights. There can be very serious matters which come up, such as a death or a terrible accident, where we need to get an embassy involved. We need to take care of all these matters.”

In many cases, medical documents will need to be translated into English, or interpreters need to be called in, for the sake of these foreign patients.

While Guðbjörg believes hospital staff are capable, she emphasised that the situation has greatly increased the workload for emergency ward staff by doing the job of agencies who, in other countries, would be handling such details.

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