Norwegian health experts on controversial trip – NRK Vestland

VG Helg wrote on Saturday about Norwegian health bureaucrats who went to a secret and expensive conference in Canada, where taxpayers foot the bill themselves.

Baard-Christian Schem, theme director at Helse Vest, took part.

Photo: Helse Vest

Baard-Christian Schem from Helse Vest was among the conference participants. He is one of those who has no problem defending his departure.

– It was three intense days full of programs, Schem tells NRK.

He has been working as specialist director at Helse Vest for over a year and previously held the position of chief physician in the cancer department at Haukeland University Hospital.

Several members of Helse Vest management participated

Herlof Nilssen

The director of Helse Vest, Herlof Nilsen, had to cancel.

Photo: Helse Vest

Schem visited Canada last fall with Helse Vest’s director of economics and finance, Per Karlsen. Managing director Herlof Nilssen was also registered for the conference, but had to cancel shortly before departure.

In a longer report in Saturday’s edition of VG Helg, it is revealed that a dozen Norwegian health bureaucrats used public funds over several years to attend the controversial Global Health Leaders Forum in Montreal , in Canada.

– From the VG photos you can get the impression that the meeting room is almost like a castle. It’s not correct. It was a large, old villa in the center of Montreal that was rebuilt to accommodate medium-sized meetings. The standard was excellent, but very much on par with what you find at meetings and classes in many Norwegian hotels, says Schem.

It is common to go out to obtain information

As a doctor, Schem is accustomed to attending international conferences to keep up to date with his professional development. Norwegian doctors make such trips about once a year. But Schem points out that there aren’t many such conferences for health summits.

– I don’t know of any similar conferences, says Baard-Christian Schem.

In Montreal, joint sessions took place with around 70 people in the room, with presentations and round tables, in addition to group work.

Private and closed secret club

According to VG

, the conference places great importance on anonymity and discretion. The conference is also organized by a private company and requires almost NOK 30,000 conference fees for each of the participants. Additionally, they must cover travel and accommodation costs.

– I would like to say like my colleague Per Karlsen: nothing was said during the meetings that could not have been said publicly, says the director of the department.

I understand why it was expensive

Schem believes there is a difference between the conference he attended and other conferences he has attended in the past.

– In Canada, everything was financed by participation fees. There were probably also several paid speakers. At other clinical conferences I have attended, researchers are happy to present for free because it is an honor.

Health challenges are resolved differently

– It was very interesting to meet people in different management positions from all over the world, says the specialist director of Helse Vest.

He emphasizes that health challenges are the same all over the world, but the way to solve them is very different.

– People think differently in each country. There are also big differences in the way healthcare businesses are run within Europe itself. This was part of what we discussed, notes Baard-Christian Schem.

And adds that Norway is a small country and a duck pond. Then sometimes it is necessary to expose yourself to larger waters and such.

Criticism of spending money

Norwegian health officials who participated in the seminar are now facing criticism from the Storting, writes VG.

– They showed a lack of judgment, believes Anders Anundsen (Frp), president of the Storting’s control and constitution committee.

He will now raise the issue the next time the Control and Constitution Commission deals with corporate control.

03.20.2011, at 03.19

03.20.2011, at 8:19 p.m.

Darell Ferguson

"Tv guru. Analyst. Lifelong alcohol junkie. Friendly bacon specialist. Twitter nerd."

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