Norway needs to reform health services, says OECD

21 May 14
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has urged Norway to strengthen its primary care services to meet the changing healthcare needs as the population ages and hospital stays become shorter

By | 21 May 2014

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has urged Norway to strengthen its primary care services to meet the changing healthcare needs as the population ages and hospital stays become shorter.

In a report issued today, the think-tank noted that public health spending per capita in Norway ranked among the highest of all OECD nations but was failing to achieve a high level of health in return. Its Health care quality review of Norway report also raised concerns about patients occasionally receiving poor quality health care, which the OECD said showed the need for greater transparency and accountability. 

‘Norway has an impressive and comprehensive health system, which is the result of sustained commitment to providing health care for the whole Norwegian population, investment in the health system, and readiness to make changes to drive improvements. Despite this positive story, challenges do lie ahead for Norway,’ the OECD said.

‘As in all OECD countries, changing demographics are putting increased pressure on health services, and with hospital lengths of stay dropping and discharges increasing, many of these pressures will be felt by community and primary care services.’

Norway is currently putting in place measures to respond to this challenge, notably with the 2012 Coordination Reform, a framework to ensure patients receive the proper treatment at the right place and time. 

But the OECD said Norway still had some way to go ‘before the fruits of such labour are truly felt’. Better coordination between the different levels of government and parts of the health sector and involving GPs more closely would enhance quality of care.

Patient safety also needs more attention, it said, adding that primary care could be better included as part of the National Reporting and Learning System within the National Agency for Patient safety.

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