In an open letter to PM Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson in Fréttablaðið today, Decode CEO Kári Stefánsson describes Sigmundur’s suggestion to build a new Landspítali elsewhere than planned as a “declaration of war.”
In the letter, Kári lashes out against Sigmundur for his performance as prime minister, finally focusing on the proposal Friday to have the new Landspítali constructed in Garðabær, on the lot of Vífilsstaðir hospital, instead of on Hringbraut, where it is now. (Plans for a new hospital have been in the pipeline for about 15 years, and the dire need for a new building has repeatedly been pointed out by hospital officials.)
In his letter, Kári stresses the urgency for a new hospital building and criticizes Sigmundur for having suggested a new construction site without consulting any member of his government. “Bjarni Ben[ediktsson, minister of finance] and Kristján Þór [Júlíusson, minister of health] learned of your suggestion by reading about it in the news.”
Kári admits that the lot at Vífilsstaðir is beautiful and may be more practical for a hospital building, but in his opinion, the urgency for a new building matters more, and much has been done already to prepare for the construction on Hringbraut. He states that the way the suggestion was presented was “a sort of declaration of war against your coalition partner and those who are in charge of healthcare in the country.” The only person Kári claims Sigmundur consulted was the Director of Health, who, according to Kári, advised against the suggestion.
Kári writes that either the PM’s suggestion will further delay the construction of a new hospital, or that his words must be ignored.
Kári’s petition to the government, asking for increased funding for healthcare, has now received 84,612 signatures, more than any other petition in the country’s history.