From Iceland — Concerns Of Understaffing At Landspitali Remain Unaddressed

Concerns Of Understaffing At Landspitali Remain Unaddressed

Published July 14, 2021

Erik Pomrenke
Photo by
Adhy Savala | Unsplash

Concerns regarding understaffing and lack of space at Landspítali hospital have largely remained unaddressed in the wake of several formal complaints by medical specialists.

Stundin reports that on May 6th, a letter signed by specialists at Landspítali, excluding chief physicians, was sent to Páll Matthíasson, the director of Landspítali. Among the many concerns raised in this letter include “unnecessarily serious incidents that could lead to death,” risks of “wrong diagnosis and thus wrong treatment,” and the possibility “that patients will experience unnecessary delays which in some cases can be life-threatening.”

Eggert Eyjólfsson, an emergency physician and signatory of the letter, stated to Stundin that it took a month for the letter to be answered in a substantive manner.

In response to the letter, Páll Matthíasson convened a meeting with the board of the hospital, but no medical specialists were invited.

Bergur Stefánsson, chairman of the Association of Emergency Physicians, stated the following in a personal communication with Páll:

“None of the questions raised in our presentation have been answered. We need clear written answers, especially as improper staffing will put all critically ill patients at risk.

“It is unbelievable to be convening a meeting with the main ‘stakeholders’. All the specialists working in the emergency room are unanimous, none of them have been invited to a meeting.

“It is not clear from your response to the verdict that Landspítali’s management understood the seriousness of this situation.”

Another complaint was submitted more recently on June 23rd to the Minister of Health regarding severe lack of space in the health system.

Theodór Skúli Sigurðsson, anesthesiologist at Landspítali, stated in an interview with RUV that there has likewise been no satisfactory response on behalf of Landspítali management.

“The number of beds at Landspítali has decreased in proportion to the increase in the population,” stated Theodór. “According to figures from OECD countries, we are in the lowest positions in terms of hospital space per capita, and this needs to be improved. The situation at Landspítali is such that utilization is 100%.”

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