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First class or nightmare? Here's what you think about Norway's hospitals

The Local Norway
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First class or nightmare? Here's what you think about Norway's hospitals
Photo: fotonen/Depositphotos"

The Local’s readers in Norway have provided a mixed appraisal of the wealthy Scandinavian country’s healthcare system.


A politician from Norway's Conservative party recently called for eyecare for people with cataracts, glaucoma or diabetes to be partly transferred from doctors to optometrists. He listed shortening journeys for patients – a notable advantage in rural areas – as one of the potential benefits.

A recent national survey placed climate change as being above healthcare on the list of priorities for voters, meanwhile – although people over 45 did place a higher importance on healthcare than their younger counterparts.

When we asked readers of The Local in Norway for their experiences of the country’s hospital system, they were mainly positive, with people praising both Norwegian medical staff and the system itself.

But there were also points of criticism in the survey, which was answered anonymously.

Of everyone who responded, more had a positive impression than a negative one of the care they had received at a Norwegian hospital.

43.8 percent said they had received “first class” or “good healthcare”, while 37.6 percent described their experience as “not good” or “nightmare”. 18.8 percent placed their experience in the “average” category.

Forms response chart. Question title: How would you rate the care you received at a hospital in Norway?. Number of responses: 16 responses.This provides an interesting contrast to our readers in France, however. A huge 87.2 percent were impressed by the care they received there.

“(I) love how MDs ask you to call them by their first names,” one reader said, while another praised “excellent” and “respectful” care in Norway.

Others cited the fact that healthcare is free in Norway (in contrast to, for example, the United States) as being part of their reasoning for receiving a positive impression from a hospital visit.

“Broken arm dealt with quickly and efficiently even though it was Sunday morning,” was another comment we received, as was “doctors have time to talk to you; clean, modern facilities, up-to-date equipment and procedures”.

Waiting times

In terms of specific problems our readers have encountered when receiving healthcare in Norway, waiting times at acute clinic and distance from healthcare in remoter regions were both mentioned.

“I’m in pain because of my gallstones and yes, I waited for five hours in the emergency (unit),” one reader wrote.

Another said: “I live in Tromsø and although the quality of care is good, the local hospital is poor at following up results and appointments”.

Asked for overall impressions of the health service in Norway, responses were decidedly mixed, with an even split between good and bad impressions.

Forms response chart. Question title: How do you rate the overall health system in Norway, including GPs, specialist care, hospitals etc?. Number of responses: 16 responses.Expanding on the overall ratings they gave to the Norwegian health system, one reader praised the “excellent entry point system of local doctors”, while another was more critical, writing that they found it “often slow to get (a) GP appointment”.

“Once diagnosed and "in the flow" then (things run like) clockwork,” they added, however.

“The Norwegian health care system gives patients choices. Exercise your rights if you are not satisfied with your fastlege [general practitioner, ed.] or the local hospital,” one of our readers wrote by way of advice to users of the Norwegian health service.

Another person encouraged learning Norwegian to reduce potential misunderstandings.¨

READ ALSO: The Norwegian habits that are just impossible to shake off



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