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No fear of the dentist in Longyearbyen

Rolf Johansen is one popular guy in Longyearbyen. The dentist is praised by the patients. One of them is Emma Grønseth (14). FOTO: Christopher Engås

No fear of the dentist in Longyearbyen

Rolf Johansen, 60, is the most popular service provider in town.

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13.02.2015 kl 14:25

"Well, that's so nice to hear," said Johansen, usually the lone dentist in Longyearbyen, after a survey of residents show 93 percent are either "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with local dentistry services.

The survey was conducted online last fall.


Continuity
Johansen has a few clear answers when asked to explain his high popularity among people in Svalbard.

"The first and main reason I think is stability," he said. "I've been here for 12 years and people know me. That one becomes familiar with a health worker who basically provides a service perceived by some as unpleasant, I think is important."

Johansen also mentions his assistant as a decisive factor. Heidi Johansen has been in office for two and a half years and her predecessor, Margareth Steinkjer, was there for 15 years.

"This is teamwork," said the dentist, who practiced in Lakselv in Finnmark for 20 years before he came to Longyearbyen. "If a good atmosphere is created here, then my assistant has to do with that to the highest degree."


Personal characterisistics
Johansen also suggested another factor he believes is important. 
"Similar studies on the mainland show that people are generally satisfied with Norwegian dentists," he said. "Most people trust dentists and police. In that sense, this is not surprising."

Many survey respondents cited his personal characteristics, especially with children, as important. Does he feel he has special abilities in that area?
"No, that is something others can judge and comment on," he said, smiling. "It is, of course, nice if people feel that way. But basically I just do my job."


Standard survey
The results of residential survey were delivered this week to Longyearbyen politicians. The survey was conducted last fall through a program based on a standard survey developed by the Web service bedrekommune.no.

The website's standard survey is compiled for municipalities on the mainland, so slight changes were made to adjust for conditions unique to Longyearbyen.
But many of the results are still comparable.


Results for Svalbard
The Longyearbyen Community Council mailed 1,193 questionnaires to residences and received responses from 257 households. The households represent about 600 total residents, or about 29 percent of Longyearbyen's population.

Norwegians provided about 84 percent of the responses, with about six percent from citizens of other Nordic countries. Slightly more than nine percent came from other parts of Europe and the world.

The survey consisted of numerous questions about public services and the general well-being of Svalbard, and will now be assessed by local politicians.

City Manager Lars-Ole Saugnes has previously stated the results will be an important management document. One thing that can already be ascertained, before politicians begin pouring over the results, is the local council is beginning at a positive starting point.
Namely, the satisfaction of Longyearbyen residents is clearly higher than the average for the mainland when looking at the results as a whole. Ranking especially high are the residential environment, central functions and cultural offerings.



The most satistifed

The table shows shows the percentage of those who answered the survey and used a service who are "satisfied" or "very satisfied" with it:

Dental services: 93 percent
Nurse/midwife: 85 percent
Governor/police: 79 percent
Employment assistance: 74 percent
Physiotherapy: 67 percent
Medical services: 63 percent
Outdoor recreation: 60 prosent

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