December 10, 2009

NORWAY: He might as well be pregnant

. CHARLESTON, West Virginia / The Charleston Daily Mail / Don Surber / December 10, 2009 Ove Martin Bjørgås, 60, of Norway looks pregnant and he might as well be. Under Norway’s free, universal health care system, Bjørgås is in his seventh month of waiting for a hernia operation. He has two months more to go. That’s a nine-month wait for necessary surgery. “I understand that patients with life-threatening diseases must come first in the queue. But to wait for nine months to get operated on a hernia getting worse, is too long,” Bjørgås told the Norwegian newspaper, Bergensavisen. The problem is a shortage of medical professionals, Petter Øgar said. “We are a fast-growing number of elderly, while the proportion of men and women of working age is decreasing. Estimates from Statistics Norway indicate that Norway in 2013 will lack 40,000 nurses, health technicians, and protective caregivers, in relation to the need in health and care services. And we’re already [spending] far more money on health than most other countries. The priority challenges we see now, is only blueberries against what is coming, and society is not prepared for what awaits,” Øgar told the newspaper. OK, the blueberries part sort of got lost in translation. But the demographics are pretty universal throughout the West. We forgot to have children. In the past, we made up the difference in the United States by paying enough to lure doctors from India and the Philippines to relocate and set-up practice here. As their homelands begin to flourish and we begin to “save money” on health care, the West is going to have to find another source of doctors. Robots? Japan is the leader in robot technology. Once again, free health care carries a price. [rc] Charleston Daily Mail © 2009 OPPHAVSRETT © BA.no/Bergensavisen