Denmark announces plan to spend billions on local healthcare

Denmark's government presented on October 27th its plan to boost local healthcare provisions.
Denmark's government presented on October 27th its plan to boost local healthcare provisions. Photo: Claus Bech/Ritzau Scanpix
The government wants to allocate four billion kroner building between 13 and 20 hospitals in local areas in a bid to boost healthcare outside of big cities, it said in a plan presented on Wednesday.

The exact function of the local hospitals, termed nærhospitaler (“near hospitals”) in Danish would be determined by the Danish Health Authority.

In the plan, the government defines the local hospitals as “hospital functions, municipal facilities and for example general practice which offers member of the public with, for example, chronic illnesses or concurrent somatic and psychiatric illness a consistent and local health facility”.

The form to be taken by the hospitals is therefore unclear at the current stage. Health Minister Magnus Heunicke said that a more specific health proposal would be presented later in the year.

Thursday’s plan to build local hospitals formed part of a wider announcement of proposed reforms aimed at boosting local society and decentralisation. The plan is titled Tættere på II or “Closer II” and follows another “Tættere på” reform plan presented earlier this year which included decentralisation of university education.

READ ALSO: Why does Denmark want to move higher education out of main cities?

Some detail of what services the new hospitals might offer was revealed on Wednesday.

Blood tests, X-rays and electrocardiograms could be undertaken at the local centres, as could regular check-ups for conditions including type 2 diabetes, chronic lung disease, and cardiovascular disease.

“Up to” 20 local hospitals or facilities could be funded be the 4 billion kroner allocated in the proposal. The money will cover construction, equipment and IT. Money for operation including wages is not included or detailed in the plan outline.

The government names 13 potential locations for the hospitals in the plan presented on Wednesday. These are Skagen, Nykøbing Mors, Tarm, Skive, Grenaa, Tønder and Fredericia spanning Jutland; Næstved, Kalundborg, Frederikssund and Helsingør on Zealand and Nyborg (Funen) and Nakskov (Lolland).

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