Lack of staff 'biggest challenge' for Danish health authorities

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Lack of staff 'biggest challenge' for Danish health authorities
Nurses are among qualified staff expected to be in shortage in Denmark in coming years. Photo: Signe Goldmann/Ritzau Scanpix

A lack of staff in the Danish health system is the greatest challenge currently faced by the sector in the country, according to a senior health official.


The head of the health committee for Denmark’s Regional health authorities, Karin Friis Bach, raised concerns over the staff shortage in comments to DR on Friday and repeated those sentiments in an interview with news wire Ritzau on Saturday.

The five Regions, the authorities which administrate hospitals and public healthcare services in Denmark, believe staff shortages are likely to cause issues for a number of years into the future.

“We are looking at some smaller year groups [graduating from education programmes, ed.] which will be the ones taking jobs in the health service at the same time the number of elderly people with chronic illnesses increases,” Bach said.


The Covid-19 crisis and resultant strain on the health service has further exacerbated staffing challenges at hospitals and clinics, she said.

“That gave an extra push to the problem we were already looking at, “she said.

The senior health official said that while sufficient funding was important, health services could not exist without sufficient staff.

Regional health boards have long expected to see staff shortages hit in coming years and have therefore looked for ways to address the issue.

“This is about how we can use the resources we have in the most sensible way possible. We are working with digitisation, with more targeted treatment, and with giving more focuses pathways for patients,” she said.

Last week’s announcement by universities of their new intakes for the forthcoming academic year showed an ongoing decline in the popularity of occupations including nursing as well as childcare and teaching.

Those three education programme types, as well as social worker educations, have seen an overall decrease by 14 percent in application numbers since 2019.


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ewoods_476632 2022/08/07 11:13
One compromise may be to offer foreign students enrollments and stipends, and a commitment to stay and practice medicine or nursing for X years after school and boards are complete, or they have to pay it back. Very common in other countries.

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