The right to a doctor (GP) in Norway
All inhabitants who are registered in the National Registry as living in Norway have the right to a General Practitioner/family doctor. You can choose your own doctor, as long as the doctor is available.
Children under the age of 16 get the same doctor as their mother, assuming the parents have joint parental responsibility and share the same address. In the case of shared custody, the child will have the same doctor as the parent who the child is registered as living with.
Who is entitled to a General Practitioner?
Everyone who is registered in the National Registry as resident in a Norwegian municipality is entitled to have a General Practitioner (GP; “fastlege” in Norwegian).
Persons who have D-numbers are not entitled to a GP, with the exception of the following groups, who are entitled:
- Asylum seekers with D-numbers, and their families
- NATO personnel with D-numbers and their families
A D-number is an identity number assigned to people who do not meet the criteria for being allocated a standard Norwegian national identification number.
Other persons with a D-number are not entitled to a doctor, but are entitled to medically necessary healthcare. The municipality is responsible to ensure this kind of healthcare.
Persons who move within Norway and notify their move to the National Registry can be reassigned to their former General Practitioner if they move back to their original municipality within three years.
If you are unsure about whether you are entitled to a GP, call helsenorge.no (user service) at telephone number +47 23 32 70 00.
You may register on a waiting list
If you log on to “Bytte fastlege” (only in Norwegian) at helsenorge.no, you can find and change doctor for yourself and your own children. You may also register the same individuals on a waiting list. You can only be registered on one waiting list at a time.
When the doctor you wish to use is available, you will automatically be registered as a patient from the first day of the forthcoming month. You will receive a letter from Helfo, confirming the name of your new doctor.
Having a General Practitioner while you are a student
GPs associated with the health service at universities and colleges can be used by students who have paid their semester fees, and by their children under 16. Students who move back to their former municipality within three years are entitled to return to their GP in the municipality, even if the GP’s list is full.
Having a General Practitioner while in a nursing home
When staying in a nursing home, you are entitled to keep your regular GP, but you need to use the nursing home doctor while you are living there. To deregister from and reregister with the GP scheme, you need to call Veiledning helsenorge.no (user service) at telephone number +47 23 32 70 00.
Patient records held by your General Practitioner
Your patient records are your GP’s recorded notes about your treatment and follow-up. Information from hospitals, specialists and other health institutions such as the results of X-rays and other tests are collected in the patient records.
Only you and health personnel involved in your treatment are allowed to inspect your personal records. You can request a copy of the records on payment of an administration fee.
General Practitioner assistance in the event of acute illness
GPs are responsible for all general practice duties for their patients during surgery opening hours. GPs have to prioritise persons on their list above others, except in the case of acute, life-threatening illness.
In the event of acute injury or illness outside of the GP’s opening hours, you must contact the out-of-hours primary care service (116 117). In a life-threatening emergency, call 113.
Out-of-hours primary care
Call 116 117 to contact the out-of-hours primary care call centre for your area.
General Practitioner list, common list, shared list and group practice
When you change your General Practitioner at helsenorge.no, you may encounter a few unfamiliar terms:
General Practitioners list (Fastlegeliste): The General Practitioner agrees with the municipality on the number of inhabitants that can be registered on the GP’s list. If you are entitled to a GP, you may wish to choose a specific one. If there is room on the GP’s list, you can choose the one you want. The GP must prioritise the people on his/her list ahead of other patients.
Group practice (Gruppepraksis): When two or more General Practitioners share a surgery, administrative services, health personnel, waiting room and laboratories, this is called a group practice. Even if your GP is part of a group practice, it is normally only your GP who is responsible for your patient records and follow-up. But, if your GP is temporarily unavailable, one of the other GPs may stand in for them.
Common list (Fellesliste): General Practitioners with a common list have shared responsibility for the medical services they provide to everyone on the list. Nevertheless, one of the GPs will have primary responsibility for your patient records and follow-up. But you can be seen and treated by another GP at the same practice when you attend. When making your appointment, you can choose between all the GPs who have the same common list.
Shared list (Deleliste): A General Practitioner who is planning to close down his/her practice may share his/her list with another doctor at the same surgery for a while.
Responsibility for the General Practitioner scheme
The municipalities own the General Practitioner scheme and sign agreements with the GPs. It is up to each municipality to ensure that there are sufficient GPs in their municipality.
Each municipality has a supervisor of GPs, who is generally the municipal doctor.
Complaints about your doctor/the General Practitioner scheme
If you are dissatisfied with your General Practitioner, you are entitled to submit a complaint.
Complaint about communication with the General Practitioner:Experience shows that patient dissatisfaction with their GP is often due to communication failures. A useful first step may be to book an appointment with the GP to explain why you are unhappy. You may wish to bring someone along with you for support.
Complaint about your treatment: When booking the appointment, it is best to notify the GP that you wish to complain about your treatment. This allows the doctor to reserve more time for the discussion. If this is not productive, you can consult the person within the municipality who is responsible for the GP scheme (usually the head of health and care services) or send a complaint to the County Medical Officer (Fylkeslege), with a copy to the chief municipal doctor (kommuneoverlege).
Complaint about access to a General Practitioner: The municipality is responsible for the provision of GPs. If there are no GPs available in the municipality, you can complain to the municipal health department (chief municipal doctor).
Opting out of the General Practitioner scheme
To deregister from and reregister with the regular GP scheme, you need to contact Guidance helsenorge.no on telephone number +47 23 32 70 00.
© Helse Norge / #Norway Today