Denmark’s regions set to be disbanded after 12 years

The five elected regional councils responsible for administration of the Danish healthcare service face closure in a new reform.

Denmark’s regions set to be disbanded after 12 years
File photo: Linda Kastrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Several Danish media, including Ritzau, reported late on Tuesday that sources have indicated that Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s government will announce its intention to scrap the regions when presenting the reform on Wednesday.

The five regional councils — North Jutland, Central Jutland, Southern Denmark, Zealand and the Capital Region – on which 205 elected officials serve, will be disbanded at the end of 2020, according to the reports.

The future administrative structure of the public health service will consist of three tiers. The first will be a state body attached to the Ministry of Health, with responsibility for budgeting and overall planning.

Five regional administrations, with the same geographical demarcations and administrative centres, will be in charge of running major hospitals, but will not be under the auspices of elected officials.

According to some reports, the current regional chairpersons will be offered the chance to continue in their roles leading regional bodies.

A number of the duties of the existing regions will be transferred to 21 new health associations, which will be attached to hospitals across the country.

The idea behind this aspect of the new structure is to help hospitals, GPs and municipalities to work closer together, Ritzau writes. Mayors and chairs in municipal health committees will be in charge of the local health associations, which will include representatives of hospitals and general practices.

The expected announcement brings to an end speculation which has lasted several months over the government’s future plans for the health system.

While the Conservative, Liberal Alliance and Danish People’s parties have all called for the regions to be scrapped, the opposition is not in support of this.

Denmark’s regions were established in 2007 and officials were most recently elected in 2017.

READ ALSO: Most Danes happy with healthcare: survey


New Year’s Eve injury rate bounces back to normal in Denmark

The number of people treated for fireworks-related injuries on New Year's Eve in Denmark has bounced back to normal levels, with 16 people treated for eye injuries after the celebrations.

New Year's Eve injury rate bounces back to normal in Denmark
Fireworks led to 16 eye injuries on New Year's Eve. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

This is up from the unusually low 12 people who were treated for eye injuries during and after the celebrations last year. Two of this year’s injuries are sufficiently severe that the injured are expected to lose their sight completely or partially.

“After a very quiet evening last year, it is back to a normal, average level,” Ulrik Correll Christensen, head doctor at the ophthalmology department at Rigshospitalet, told the country’s Ritzau newswire. “It is a completely extraordinary situation at the eye departments on New Year’s Eve. It is not at all something we see on a daily basis.” 

Christensen has tallied up reports from all of Denmark’s eye units, including the major ones in Copenhagen, Aalborg, Aarhus, Odense and Næstved. 

He said that 15 out of the 16 cases had not worn safety goggles, two thirds were between ten and thirty years old. 

“The most important thing is to follow the advice when firing fireworks. Wear safety goggles and keep a good distance,” he said. 

The number of ambulance call outs on New Year’s Eve is also back to normal, with 1,188 emergency vehicles sent out, compared to 875 last year. 

In the Capital Region of Copenhagen, there were 44 call-outs were related to fireworks, of which 16 were for hand injuries and 14 for eye injuries.