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ESA takes Norway to Court for rules restricting hospital treatment abroad




ESA has decided to bring Norway before the EFTA Court for national rules restricting patients' rights to seek hospital treatment in other EEA States. 

ESA concludes that the Norwegian rules on access to hospital treatment in other EEA States are not in line with EEA law. They violate important legal principles on patients' rights, social security coordination and the freedom to receive hospital services.

Norwegian rules prohibit patients from turning directly to a medical service provider in another EEA State, in cases where the Norwegian health care system has failed to provide necessary medical treatment within the prescribed deadlines.

Other Norwegian rules fail to ensure, as required by EEA law, that an assessment is made as to whether patients can actually receive equally efficient treatment in Norway in due time. This has been especially problematic for patients with rare diseases, according to complainants.

ESA initiated formal infringement procedures following several complaints against Norway regarding access to hospital treatment in other EEA States.

“Overall, the Norwegian system lacks clarity, precision, transparency and legal certainty. This makes it difficult for patients to navigate the system and fully understand their EEA rights”, said Bente Angell-Hansen, President of the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA).

How ESA investigates

For further information, please contact:

Øystein Solvang
Head of Communications
mob. +32 490 57 63 53

Other EEA Institutions

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