Saturday, December 4

– It is very difficult for me to understand that there is no supervision of people.


The Norwegian Board of Health states that the Helgeland Hospital has not overseen bowel cancer surgery in Sandnessjøen well enough. The former department head criticizes the fact that no supervision has been carried out against the people in the hospital.

Former Helgeland Hospital medical director Ida Bukholm left in November last year after an internal conflict. Criticizes the final report from the Danish Health and Medicines Authority.

Thursday was the end The report presented. The Norwegian Board of Health claims that Helgeland Hospital has violated a duty to work systematically with improving quality and patient safety for colorectal cancer patients.

  • Management has not had sufficient systematic follow-up from 2016 to 2019.
  • This despite the fact that they were aware that the “robustness” requirements of the Norwegian Health Directorate had not been met.
  • The management of the Sandnessjøen hospital also did not inform the management of the company when they realized an excessive frequency of complications and deaths in 2016.

Figures from the Cancer Registry showed that Sandnessjøen Hospital had the highest death rate in the country after bowel cancer surgery in 2016-2018.

In January 2020, these figures were released on social media, writes the Norwegian Board of Health. At the same time, it became clear that the hospital had planned several bowel cancer procedures the following week.

Later, Medical Director Ida Bukholm recommended stopping these operations at the hospital. The company’s management decided that operations should be temporarily relocated to the Mo i Rana hospital.

Bukholm received a lot of criticism locally for this. At the same time, there was a heated debate about where the future main hospital should be located: in Mo i Rana or in Sandnessjøen.

“Internal disagreement has at times been so acute that it appears to have weakened the Health Trust’s overall ability to address patient safety work sufficiently,” the report states.

In the final report, the Norwegian Board of Health gives Bukholm the right: it was justified to halt operations temporarily.

They believe that the suspicion of quality problems should have been raised earlier. After the operations were closed, a group led by Helse Nord followed the course of bowel cancer patients. They spent two days on it. The group stated that “there was no reason to be concerned about quality.”

The Norwegian Board of Health considers this review to be flawed.

After a week, surgeons began operating again for bowel cancer in Sandnessjøen.

Subsequently, Helgeland Hospital hired three external experts. They looked at the course of 154 bowel cancer patients.

“They pointed to various patient processes with undesirable incidents and questions about possible failures without this having previously been captured by company management,” writes the Norwegian Board of Health.

Health professionals were afraid to report

The Norwegian Board of Health received notifications of two incidents related to bowel cancer surgery in 2020. Both were notified several months later.

When the Norwegian Board of Health was inspecting Sandnessjøen, they spoke with the hospital employees. They noted a possible reason for not warning: “It may have been that the Sandnessjøen health staff experienced that the risk of negative care from company management and other units at Helgeland Hospital was great,” writes the Board of Health. from Norway.

They have not opened a supervisory case against people at the hospital. Former medical director Ida Bukholm is critical of this.

– It is a deliberate violation of health legislation not to report unnatural deaths. It is also contrary to all principles to work with patient safety, he believes.

Bukholm was asked to provide information for the preliminary audit report. There he mentioned this.

– When the audit does not allow this to have legal consequences, it also gives an important signal to the rest of the healthcare staff: it is not so dangerous if no serious incidents are reported.

Aftenposten has asked the Norwegian Board of Health for comment. According to the acting director of the department, Anders Haugland, it is the specialized health service companies, not individual health personnel, who have a duty to report serious incidents.

The company must ensure that routines are established so that information on incidents and possible failures is followed internally and reported to the supervisory authorities.

The level of conflict in the health trust has made quality work difficult. It has affected the work environment and increased insecurity in the population, says the report.

But the Norwegian Board of Health believes that changes have now been implemented and planned that will strengthen the quality and safety of bowel cancer patients in Helgeland.

They were temporarily transferred to the Nordland Hospital in Bodø a year ago. This is still the case.


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