Sunday, November 28

– We fear a storm of layoffs – E24

KALNES (VG) Here patients lie in line in a corridor because the emergency room is full. Now it is collapsing with layoffs, while sickness absenteeism increases.

IN THE CORRIDOR: This week was very busy in Kalnes’s ER.

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– They have been very demanding weeks, says ER nurse and safety representative Jeanette Høyem Kristiansen about the period they have spent at Østfold Kalnes Hospital.

– We were under pressure before. But now we have received as many patients with suspected covid as the highest previously, but with fewer resources. Also, there is a large influx of other patients. It has been hard and many are very tired, he adds.

Now the staff is divided to give incoming patients the follow-up they need. Acute patients receive immediate help, but for others the waiting time can be long when it is most hectic.

Employees also have an emergency room at Ahus The alarm sounded about the large patient turnout and full bedposts.. A completely open society and a high increase in covid cases have pushed many of the country’s hospitals to the limit.

13 have resigned

In Kalnes, now they see the layoffs coming: 13 in two months. At the same time, sick leave has risen from just over 10 percent to 12.6 percent.

– Many quit because they are very tired, says Høyem Kristiansen.

TRAVEL: ER Nurse and Shop Steward Jeanette Høyem Kristiansen is sitting in front of the PC coordinating a busy shift this week.

Although the reasons for layoffs and sick leave are complex, they present challenges.

– It has been a very challenging time. The elastic is pulled as much as possible. At the same time, we know that we stand our ground at the beginning of an RS season. Flu season hasn’t arrived yet either, says doctor and shop steward Lars Magnus Aker.

– We fear a storm of layoffs in the face of fall and winter because there will never be a respite. We have several employees who experience symptoms of stress, such as palpitations, memory difficulties, apathy and hopelessness, says ER Nurse Høyem Kristiansen.

The violent influx means that the emergency department has what is called a critical operation several times a week. At worst, staff have a hard time finding beds for all incoming patients.

– We do everything we can for patients, but finding places for them is challenging, says Aker.

Double guards

It has become quite common to work double shifts to help the department, which is in great need of people. They have become used to receiving daily text messages about vacant shifts that need to be filled.

– The risk of errors increases with persistently high working pressure. It happens because employees work hard, Aker says.

The clinic’s director, Liv Marit Sundstøl, is concerned that the hospital is so full. She knows daily the consequences this has for the emergency room.

– There is a continuous occupation of more than 100 percent in medical areas 24 hours a day. It spreads in the emergency room, she says.

He is pleased that shop stewards and the security service are clear in their comments on the challenges they face and come up with proposals for measures that should be introduced.

To remedy the situation, the management is increasing its workforce, initiating the training of new employees and strengthening the porter service. But it has not been enough for employees who are exhausted.

– Norwegian hospitals operate with too small a margin, says Dr Aker.

Closed to relatives

At Kalnes, they now have an average stay of 4.5 hours, which is higher than they would like. At Ahus, they currently have a resting time of 5.5 hours, but it has happened that patients have been lying down at the reception for up to 24 hours.

– We must prioritize the most important tasks. It can go beyond things like good information for relatives, says Høyem Kristiansen.

The large influx has led them to have to close by relatives, in part because there is physically no space for more people in the room, but also to guarantee the duty of confidentiality.

– The patients are already very close, says Høyem Kristiansen.

CLEAR SPEECH: Lars Magnus Aker, doctor and shop steward, is clear in his speech. He believes that Norwegian hospitals are run on very little margins.

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