The government will wind up the Elderly Ombudsman: – Reacts strongly

On Thursday, the government announced in the revised national budget that they aim to abolish the Elderly Ombudsman from 1 July 2023. Elderly Ombudsman Bente Lund Jacobsen is surprised by the move, while the opposition perceives it as a mockery of the elderly.

– It is very unexpected, especially because the Elderly Ombudsman was established by the Storting as late as 2020. Society needs to promote the interests of the elderly more, not less. There are more and more elderly people in Norway and their interests must be taken care of by the whole society, and there we play an important role, says senior ombudsman Jacobsen to Dagbladet.

– It came as a great surprise to me, especially because the Elderly Ombudsman is a new company. It is clear that this is a big surprise for me and my colleagues. We had envisioned that the Elderly Ombudsman should be built up, not down.

NATO: On Thursday, it was confirmed that Finland wishes to apply for NATO membership. Commentator Martine Aurdal believes this is of great importance to Norway. Video: Ivan Larsson / Dagbladet TV
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Strong reactions

KrF leader Olaug Bollestad describes it as “a mockery” and “just sad”.

– The elderly deserve a spokesperson, this is a mockery of the elderly, Bollestad says to Dagbladet.

– For far too many years, the elderly were a group in society without their own ombudsman. KrF did something about this and established an elderly ombudsman. That the government is now closing down the Elderly Ombudsman that KrF got established is just sad.

Storting representative Erlend Svardal Bøe (H) says that the Conservatives believe that the Elderly Ombudsman must be continued.

– I am simply shocked that the government intends to close the mouthpiece for all the country’s elderly. The Elderly Ombudsman does an incredibly important job of highlighting what the needs of the elderly are, and in the work on how we can manage to create a more age-friendly society that to a greater extent recognizes the elderly as valuable contributors in society, Bøe tells Dagbladet.

– Petty

FRP leader Sylvi Listhaug and health policy spokesperson in the party, Bård Hoksrud, reacts strongly and calls it an attack on the rights of the elderly from “the most anti-elderly government we have had”.

– The Labor Party and the Center Party show again that they are not willing to give the elderly the promise and attention they deserve. When the government is to prioritize, pensioners come far down the list. Many older people do not get the offer they need to have a dignified life, Listhaug tells Dagbladet and continues:

– Then it is petty of the government to cover the budget by closing down the ombud who will speak for the elderly and safeguard their rights.

IRRESPONSIBLE: Dagbladet’s commentator Sondre Hansmark calls the government’s spending in the revised national budget irresponsible, 12 May 2022. Reporter: Anniken Aronsen.
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Budget cuts

The Ministry of Health and Care Services states that the reason why they want to wind up the Elderly Ombudsman is first and foremost about finances. They believe that the ombud’s tasks are already covered by other ombudsmen and bodies.

As a result of the government now wanting to wind up the Elderly Ombudsman, they propose to reduce their allocation by one million kroner this year.

– The government recognizes the efforts that the Elderly Ombudsman has made in a short time to make the elderly’s interests and challenges visible in many areas, says Minister of Health Ingvild Kjerkol (Labor) and continues:

– The elderly are a diverse group and there are many actors who promote the interests of the elderly. At a time when we must prioritize, the government believes that it is right to clean up overlapping functions and areas of responsibility.

MINISTER OF HEALTH: Ingvild Kjerkol. Photo: Håkon Mosvold Larsen
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Fighting spirit in the Elderly Ombudsman

The senior ombudsman, led by senior ombudsman Bente Lund Jacobsen, has been an important critic of the government in connection with the handling of the corona pandemic. Jacobsen now expects the ombudsman to be maintained.

– This is something that will be decided in the Storting, and I am interested in pointing out that they decided to establish the Elderly Ombudsman as late as 2020, and that it must commit them to a long-term effort, says Jacobsen and continues:

– The senior ombudsman is a watchdog and a draft dog: We must both point out things in society that we believe must be changed and we must contribute to changes being drawn into legislation and other arenas, among other things.

– What do you think about the government stating that the rationale is first and foremost about finances?

– The elderly should not always be a balancing act, neither for this government nor for others. I’m a little puzzled by that. Elderly people, relatives and other representatives of the elderly tell us that there is a need for the Elderly Ombudsman, and I think that should weigh quite heavily.

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