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Heated Debate about Hospital Location

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Heated Debate about Hospital Location

Landspítali National University Hospital

Landspítali National University Hospital. Photo: Sverrir H. Geirmundsson.

Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson’s words Friday regarding a new construction site for Landspítali University Hospital in Garðabær have caused a strong reaction.

Sigmundur Davíð has often voiced the opinion that he would rather see a new hospital building rise elsewhere than planned on Hringbraut, where it’s currently located. On his website, he suggested Friday that authorities ought to look at the offer of Garðabær Mayor Gunnar Einarsson, who welcomes the possibility of a new hospital building on the lot of the old Vífilsstaðir hospital in Garðabær.

The hospital is in dire need of a new building, and Hospital Director Páll Matthíasson has repeatedly warned that no time must be lost. “For the health of the nation, a new Landspítali must rise on Hingbraut,” he wrote on the hospital’s website on Friday.

Because of lack of room, hospital administrators resorted Friday to setting up hospital beds in the parking garage of the emergency department, Vísir reports. “Under such conditions, it’s absolutely intolerable to hear voices, once again, that discourage the construction of a hospital building on Hringbraut. This is a serious issue which concerns the safety of the whole nation,” Páll continued.

Furthermore, he stressed the importance of the hospital’s proximity to the Univerisity of Iceland and said that spreading the operation all over the city would be disadvantageous.

Jóhannes M. Gunnarsson, medical project manager for a new hospital building, told Vísir the hospital operation can’t wait for the choice of a new construction site. He said of Sigmundur Davíð’s words, “The comments are quite unexpected and create certain difficulties … this creates insecurity.”

Sigríður Ingibjörg Ingadóttir, head of Alþingi’s Welfare Committee, stated it would be completely irresponsible to further delay the construction of a new hospital, mbl.is reports.

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