HomeDanish PoliticsDanish Health Commission proposes major healthcare system reorganization

Danish Health Commission proposes major healthcare system reorganization

A recent report from the Health Structure Commission proposes a major reorganization of the Danish care and healthcare system. According to the commission, it would be beneficial to remove the responsibility for nursing homes and meal services for elderly citizens from the municipalities to meet the future challenges of an increasing number of elderly people and a shortage of nursing staff. The commission’s proposal comes after a year of work and could result in the most extensive reform in the area in 20 years. Health Minister Sophie Løhde (Venstre) has already clearly rejected this part of the commission’s recommendations. “As a government, we find it very difficult to imagine that it is not the municipalities that should be responsible for nursing homes and meal services in people’s homes – or personal care for that matter,” she stated. The minister emphasizes that the government wants a healthcare system that is closer to the citizens and therefore welcomes the commission’s focus on this aspect.

The commission’s three models for the future care system include two where both health and eldercare are taken away from the municipalities. This is met with resistance from both the government and the municipalities themselves. Sisse Marie Welling (Socialistisk Folkeparti), chair of the Local Government Denmark (KL) Health and Elderly Committee, refers to the proposal as a “municipal reform through the back door” and points out that it was not the task the commission was supposed to solve. The need for reforms is underscored by demographic predictions: in the next ten years, the number of elderly people over 80 years old is expected to increase by over 150,000, and 1.4 million citizens already live with a chronic illness. About 160,000 new cases of chronic illnesses are diagnosed every year. Although the government is open to discussing improvements that can bring the healthcare system closer to the citizens, it appears clear that municipalities will continue to play a central role in nursing homes and meal services for elderly citizens.

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