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Internal power struggle: Sat Brostrøm in place

There has been a dramatic power struggle at the top of the Danish health system, while coronakrisen was at its highest.

It reveals an email that the health ministry's permanent secretary, Per Okkels, sent 14. march to the Health director, Søren Brostrøm, which organises the Danish coronaindsats.

Overall, the message was in the email not to be mistaken: the prime minister's office will have tested more now.

But what was not to be mistaken for coronageneral Brostrøm, was the vertical order, as the director came up with for last:

'Before you answer, you must leave the responsibility for proportionality in recognition of an extremely precautionary approach,' wrote Per Okkels to Søren Brostrøm.


this last sentence is attention-grabbing and exposes the internal conflict between the government and the medical experts, explains Linda Smith, former director of the national board of Health.

It is not a trifle, as the director asks Brostrøm to 'leave the responsibility for:

- the principle of Proportionality is a cornerstone in public health work. There must be proportion between what you choose to do as a state, and what you try to do something about.

- the Cure should preferably not be more fatal than it, you are trying to treat, explain, Else Smith, and states that the wording in the email not to be mistaken.

- It must be read as a clear order. He writes 'must'. It is not 'can' or 'is it a good idea?, he writes 'must'. There is no doubt here that the prime minister has said: we Can't get some more tests?, says the former director of the national board of Health.

Mails on the testing (PDF)
Mails for the testing (Text)

Jakob Kjellberg, professor at The National Research and analysis centre for Welfare and health (Vive) also reads departemenschefens mail as an unequivocal message to the Brostrøm.

- Basically says he, 'test, test, test' and don't come running with all sorts of considerations, that there must be a reasonable relation between what we get out of the testing, and the resources used to test, " says the professor and points to the ordvekslingen exhibits disagreement between politicians and professionals.

- It shows that there is a very different view of testing. It is a professional and political world meet, he says.

By asking Søren Brostrøm drop its principles of proportions in the test strategy and instead embark on 'extreme precautionary approach', he is simultaneously forced into the prime minister's line.

- the Message to Brostrøm, is that he must think of his grundlærdom here. One must understand that the prime minister is concerned that we are not testing more, says Else Smith.

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Prime minister Mette Frederiksen (S) was, according to the director in the Health ministry concerned that there were not tested more for coronavirus in Denmark, when he gave Søren Brostrøm a challenge 14. march. Photo: Philip Davali

It was not the only director in the ministry of Health, who was fond of the word 'precautionary approach'. Prime minister Mette Frederiksen used it also in connection with the decommissioning of Denmark.

- We adopt, in other words, a precautionary approach, it sounded from the prime minister on the historic news conference 11. march as the justification for the extensive decommissioning of the country.


the Case is the latest example of the disagreement that prevailed between the government and the health authorities during the first time with corona in Denmark.

As Ekstra Bladet and Jyllands-Posten has previously uncovered, was Søren Brostrøms approach other than the government's, before Denmark was closed down.

He warned that a comprehensive intervention could do more harm than good, and he argued for less interference than the massive shutdown, which ended up being implemented.

Community - 25. may. 2020 - pm. 16:59 Mail reveals: Brostrøm warned about the harmful consequences to shut down Denmark

Søren Brostrøms answer Per Okkels mail shows that coronageneralen not surrendered to the government's precautionary approach without a fight.

'It is professional processes with many actors (and opinions), as we in the national board of Health despite the complexity yet manages to wind up in a very fast pace, even if it means that some nuances and precision are not always in the cupboard,' writes Brostrøm, which explains that man is continuously in dialogue with the regions and the medical association on just the test strategy.

'I would therefore strongly appeal for the implementation of further processes across the group, which makes it very difficult for us to keep focus,' says Brostrøm, which ends with:

'I'll call you.'

Ekstra Bladet has tried in vain to get the national board of Health and the ministry of Health to respond to issues in the case.

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Per Okkels, permanent secretary in the ministry of Health. Photo: ministry of Health


Else Smith roses Søren Brostrøm, to keep in his line.

- It is very positive to see that he, in fact, trying to keep the real in reality, if I may say so, says the former director of the national board of Health, which notes that Søren Brostrøm trying to get working.

- He says: We actually have a track on it and a lot of the time. There is a lot that must really professional. And moreover, he appeals to that which is not being launched more, just because a minister gets an idea. He goes right with it, she says.

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Ten days after the mailudvekslingen between Søren Brostrøm and Per Okkels went health minister Magnus Heunicke out and said that the authorities ought to test the several.

four days later, Jyllands-Posten, bring a leak from a meeting of the government security Committee, which anonymous sources told that the government was very keen to test more, while the authorities were far more langmodige.

It was only in the end of march, start to get time in the number of coronatests. So far 484.482 persons have been tested for coronaviruses.

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