More students visit doctor due to absence rule

doctor absence rule medical associationDoctor writing out prescription. Photo

Strong increase in students visiting doctor due to absence rule in High Schools

The number of doctor visits has increased by 15 per cent among Norwegians between the ages of 16 and 19. They visit the doctor to document illness as being the reason for absence, SSB believes.


All in all, the development is relatively predictable and stable when it comes to the Norwegian population’s contact with their GPs. We visit the doctor’s office between 2.6 and 2.7 times a year, and every year the total number of visits increases by about 2 per cent – except for those between the ages of 16 and 19 years old. They have increased 15 per cent annually since the stricter absence rule was introduced in High Schools in the autumn of 2016, shows the latest figures from the Norwegian Public Health Service.

Many of the consultations involves fairly minor health issues. Statistics Norway estimates that the marked increase last year, which is consistent with the previous year’s development, is a consequence of the need for students to document sickness as the reason for absence from school at the upper secondary education level.


The yearly figures camouflage an increase that is almost twice as large. The absence rule was introduced as the school year started in August 2016, but was not recorded in the GP statistics before the second half of that year. Compared to the second half of 2015 and the first half of 2016, the level was between 20 and 30 per cent higher in the second half of 2016 and in the first half of 2017.

In the second half of 2017, the figures for the 16-19 year olds were only slightly higher than one year earlier. Thus it appears that the increased level has remained quite stable following the changes in absence rules.


© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today