ESA takes Norway to court for rules on hospital choice

Emergency room HospitalEntrance to an Emergency room. Photo: Pixabay.com
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The ESA surveillance body is taking Norway to the EFTA (European Free Trade Association) Court because of rules that restrict access to choose hospital treatment abroad.

Norwegian rules prohibit patients from making direct contact with hospitals in another EEA country, even when the deadline has expired for treatment in Norway. ESA (EFTA Surveillance Authority) believes that this and other rules are not in line with EEA law.

“The rules violate important principles on patient rights, coordination of social security benefits, and on the freedom to receive hospital services,” the monitoring body writes in a press release.

ESA points out that other regulations do not fulfill the requirements for how the authorities should assess whether patients can be offered as good treatment in time in Norway as in another EEA country.

“In general, the Norwegian system lacks the clarity, precision, transparency and legal security guarantees required by the EEA rules. This makes it difficult for patients to understand and use their rights,” says ESA President Bente Angell-Hansen.

ESA has sent two letters to Norway since 2014 and has received answers, but says the problems have not been resolved. Taking the case to the EFTA Court is the final formal step in the process.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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