READERS REVEAL: What do foreigners think of the Norwegian healthcare system?
We asked our readers in Norway to share with us their experiences of the Nordic country's healthcare system.
Most healthcare in Norway is covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme, with residents paying a small service charge for health care costs. For example, a consultation with a GP costs 160 kroner.
Once you’ve paid more than 2,460 kroner in approved user fees, then you will receive an exemption card with all treatment covered by the national insurance scheme after that being free.
Overall, 46.2 percent of respondents to our straw poll said that they had bad experiences with the healthcare system, while 15 percent said they had good encounters. The same proportion, 15 percent, answered in the "neither good nor bad experiences" and "very bad experiences" categories, while seven percent said they had very good experiences.
Among the positive aspects of the Norwegian healthcare system that readers told us about were competent GPs, excellent quality of treatment, good quality service and giving birth.
“Doctors take the time to explain the situation and solutions. Avoiding antibiotics as much as possible is a great strategy,” George from Lysaker responded.
Another reader who had broken their ankle praised the healthcare system and the human way in which they were treated.
“I had an accident, and I seriously broke my ankle, the Norwegian system did the best it could. The people who treated me were polite and very human, they really cared,” the reader wrote.
May from Ålesund praised the fact that they could get a same-day appointment with their fastlege (GP). However, this wasn’t the case for everyone (see below).
In an earlier survey on healthcare in the country, readers also praised doctors' bedside manner and the excellent facilities.
While one reader praised the short waiting times for a GP, others said they had experienced the opposite. Waiting times were the biggest issue cited by readers, with one person who didn’t want to be named saying they waited a year for neurological testing.
Anotehr reader said they had waited a long time to be assigned a doctor.
“I moved from Oslo to Tromsø, and I am currently without a GP. Helsenorge didn’t think this was an issue and told me to visit a hospital if I needed to see a doctor. How can a municipality have no slots for a doctor? Everyone has the right to a local doctor, and I’ve been left with nothing. All I can do is join a waiting list in the hopes a place turns up before I get ill,” Sinead from Tromsø wrote.
Sivakumar also complained about the lack of appointments.
“It’s not possible to get an appointment. There is always a waiting time. They are also not proactive in assessment,” Sivakumar added that while identifying issues wasn't straightforward the care received once the problem was found was exceptional.
Others said they experienced difficulties accessing GPs.
“Having to constantly contact and chase to book appointments or change appointments, and often having ‘no diagnosis’ or being left to try things without any follow-up (is a problem),” Simon, from Oslo, responded.
What could be improved upon?
There were several things that readers thought could be made better. For example, many want dentistry included in the national insurance scheme, as well as shorter waiting times and cheaper medicines.
“Free dental healthcare, more efficient diagnosis and treatment and lower cost of medications” were some of the things one reader told us that needed to be improved.
Simon from Oslo wanted better aftercare.
“Aftercare and case resolution, not having issues left unknown or untreated. If a diagnosis can’t be made, send me to a specialist and follow up,” he responded when asked what could be better.
Sinead from Tromsø was among a number of readers who wanted to see more slots for doctors so they could be appointed a GP.