The Nordic School of Public Health (NHV) will in May (25th-29th) hold a Nordic Summer Symposium and a research course during which a foundation for an analysis of the trend of merging large hospitals will be laid.
The process of hospital mergers is driven by administrative trends rather than being based on scientific research.
Larger hospitals are not only merged in the Nordic countries; there is a clear trend also in other parts of Europe. One of the lectures at this summer’s symposium, Professor Martin McKee, will highlight this fact. He is research director of the European Observatory on Health Care Systems, Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and editor of the European Journal of Public Health. McKee will talk about his experiences of large European hospitals and give his view on how the hospitals of the future should be planned.
– The process of merging hospitals is often painful and the same mistakes are made over and over again. There are often parallel steering processes that can complicate and interfere with the reorganisation, says Lotta Dellve.
She is a lecturer at the Nordic School of Public Health as well as researcher at and head of the Occupation Health Unit at the Department of Public Health and Community Medicine at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Her research includes examining the significance of leadership and the working environment in health care provision.
– So far there have been few research attempts when it comes to weighing together working environment issues, productivity and quality of care, Dellve explains.
Even if decisions are made at top management level, they have to be put into practice at lower levels. If doctors and other members of staff have not been properly included in the process, reorganization does not work.
– The challenge is to provide good care. We will now gather existing research and invite researchers, PhD students and top hospital managers along with politicians to during two days lay the foundation for an analysis of hospital mergers in the Nordic countries, says Lotta Dellve.
– It is important to clarify the underlying driving forces that on the one hand necessitate a concentration of the most highly specialised healthcare services and on the other leads to the fact that more everyday care can be provided in the patients’ own environment, says NHV Professor Johan Calltorp, previous Director for Healthcare Services, Region Västra Götaland.
– It demands a continuous structural change, he continues. But we have yet to learn how to carry it out in a enough skilful way. We need to integrate these insights with for instance modern process development and also with organization theory, which tells us that a hospital unit should not comprise more than 400-600 beds.