Emphasis on responsible health and care services, including in the event of an influx of persons from Ukraine.

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In order to be able to manage a very high number of displaced persons from Ukraine to Norway, the Ministry of Health and Care Services is proposing to allow for temporary changes to healthcare legislation.

The situation in Ukraine and the surrounding areas is unpredictable and Norway is planning in order to be able to receive a large number of displaced persons. Norwegian municipalities have been requested to settle 35,000 individuals in 2022. The high number of arrivals will result in challenges at all stages and increase the pressure on basic welfare services, including day-care facilities, schools and health and care services.

“The professionals in our health and care services have over the two years of the pandemic demonstrated how skilled they are. I am confident that they, in a situation involving a high number of displaced persons from Ukraine, will be able to offer health and care services to the population of a sound quality and scope”, says Minister of Health and Care Services, Ingvild Kjerkol.  

In principle, the health and care services will be able to satisfy the current legislative and regulatory requirements. However, the Ministry is taking into consideration that we might find ourselves in a situation where these services are unable to observe certain rights or duties. Therefore, the Ministry is proposing statutory provisions that allow, in certain circumstances, for exemptions from certain statutory requirements in the Patient and User Rights Act, the Specialist Health Services Act and the Health and Care Services Act. This will require regulatory amendments and has to be determined by the Ministry of Health and Care Services.  

“The basic rights and duties relating to the health and care services shall be safeguarded, regardless. No exemptions will be allowed from rights and duties pertaining to basic health and care services such as emergency care and necessary health and care services”, says Kjerkol.

Furthermore, no exemptions will be made from the duty to provide sound health and care services, neither for health trusts, municipalities nor health personnel.

On this basis, the Ministry of Justice and Public Security has today issued a consultation memorandum which proposes to allow for exemptions in regulations to rights and duties, including:

  • Establishment of a time limit as to when, at the latest, patients are to receive necessary health care
  • The right to information within 10 days as a response to a referral
  • The right to a review
  • The right to free choice of treatment
  • The right to an individual plan
  • The right to a contact physician
  • The right to a coordinator
  • The right to a children's coordinator

As mentioned, the health and care services will, in principle, be able to satisfy the current legislative and regulatory requirements. Therefore, the Ministry may only make such exemptions in regulations if this is necessary in order to facilitate appropriate adjustments and prioritisations for the provision of health and care services or to contribute to ensuring that the capacity of the health and care services is not exceeded.

The legal authorities in regulations proposed in the consultation memorandum are temporary and will be repealed no later than on 1 July 2023.