Varying quality in Norwegian hospitals

HospitalHospital.Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

Big differences in the quality of Norwegian hospitals

There are major variations in the quality of health services offered by Norwegian hospitals according to a new review. The Directorate of Health is concerned about the development.


The Norwegian Directorate of Health has gone through 120 national quality indicators in the Norwegian health service. The differences between hospitals are clear.

“There are also large variations between disciplines in some hospitals. This is what the health service needs to pay more attention to” said health director, Bjørn Guldvog, in a press release.

The Directorate reported that much is moving in the right direction, but developments in some areas give cause for concern.

Health package flow

An area where health care is not delivering and where results are diverging is the so-called ‘packet course’ for cancer.

“The goal is that 70% of patients taken into a cancer treatment course will complete it within a set period of time. From May to August 2018, almost 64% of patients went through the packages in the recommended time,” informed the directorate.

The review also showed the difference between women and men in terms of survival after lung cancer. It is a goal that at least 20% who get lung cancer should be alive after 5 years. Today, this applies to 24% of women, and 18% of men.

Similar trends

Earlier in the month, figures from 53 national health records were presented, which also showed clear variations in treatment in different parts of the country.

Among other things, the registry showed that a higher proportion of prostate patients receive radical radiation treatment in the Health West, and a higher proportion of patients were operated in Health South East, Health Middle and Health North.

There are also major differences between hospitals as to how long patients have to wait for obesity surgery and how long diabetes 1 patients with poor blood sugar control have to wait.

“The variation in some areas is so great and inexplicable that I have called it a failure in the Norwegian health service,” said Bent Høie of Høyre (H), the Minister of Health.


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