Doctors doctor forms for more funds

Doctor-managers at a major regional hospital in southern Norway have been caught inflating the numbers for patient overnight stays, a practice that has forced the shuffling of millions of kroner in funding away from other patient-care programmes.

Drammen Hospital doctored 1,500 patient diagnoses in reports to regional offices that changed “day surgeries” into “hospital stays”. The hospital's head of surgical care admitted it did “look like” patient documents had deliberately been filled out incorrectly.

The scandal follows a long line of serious patient-care errors meted out by health care staff at Norwegian hospitals and reported on by the country’s newspapers. The widespread adoption of information technology appears to have worsened the “disconnect” reported between patient diagnosis and care.

In July, broadcaster NRK reported Lillestrøm Hospital north of the capital had changed registered diagnoses to “multiple traumas, seriously injured” in order to extract six times the per-head patient funding from regional coffers.

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