The action plan originally pertained to the period 1998–2001, and its aim was to increase the capacity of services, improve quality, to provide uniform facilities nationwide and improve the central government’s instruments of governance. The objectives would be reached by providing single-occupant rooms to everyone who wanted one, creating 12,000 new full-time posts during the period and building or rehabilitating 24,400 specially adapted dwellings and nursing home places. The action plan period was later extended, and the construction or rehabilitation of 38,400 specially adapted dwellings and nursing home places by 2005 was approved. The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation reveals that the specific targets for the increase in the number of personnel, single-occupant rooms, specially adapted dwellings and nursing home places will be reached in the action plan period.
The action plan has been extended several times in respect of time, scope and cost. The cost to the central government rose from NOK 29 billion to NOK 40 billion since the plan was adopted. The audit revealed that in the first three years of the action plan period there was little or no prioritising by need, whereby municipalities with extensive care needs would have their services expanded first. The audit also showed that the differences among municipalities in the number of nursing home places, retirement home places and specially adapted dwellings relative to the number persons aged 80 and over to redistribution remained quite stable in the period. In the view of the Office of the Auditor General, a lack of control and prioritising at the beginning of the action plan period may have intensified the need for the subsequent expansions, especially regarding services for those in most need of care.
The Ministry of Social Affairs points out that the action plan’s main objectives have been reached, but notes that the policy signals to some county departments might have been clearer. The Ministry of Social Affairs agrees with the opinion of the Office of the Auditor General that it is necessary to focus special attention on the services offered to residents of specially adapted dwellings who have extensive needs for nursing and care.
This report is available in Norwegian on the Office of the Auditor General’s website – www.riksrevisjonen.no - or may be ordered from the University bookshop Akademika, tel. +47 22 11 67 70.