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Internal Market: Norway fails to respect EEA rules on patients' rights



EN | NO  

Norway makes it too difficult for its citizens to seek hospital treatment in other EEA States. This is the conclusion of the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) which has today sent a reasoned opinion to Norway.

 “Under specific circumstances, the EEA Agreement gives Norwegian patients the right to seek hospital treatment in other European countries. However, Norway has made it much too difficult to get authorisation or reimbursement in such cases”, says ESA President Sven Erik Svedman.

ESA has received several complaints concerning the issue and has found that a number of provisions in Norwegian legislation are not in line with EEA law.

Overall, the Norwegian system lacks the clarity, precision and transparency required by the EEA rules on patients' rights. This makes it very difficult for patients to navigate the system and fully understand their rights.

Further, 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 under EEA law, that an assessment is made as to whether patients can actually receive equally efficient treatment in Norway in due time. In addition, Norway does not ensure an adequate, case-by-case assessment of individual patients.

Finally, the Norwegian rules do not explicitly ensure, that what is recognised by international medical science is fully taken into account when evaluating the expected benefit of medical treatment available elsewhere Europe.

A reasoned opinion is the second step in an infringement procedure against an EEA State. The Norwegian Government now has two months to express its views. After that, ESA may decide to refer the case to the EFTA Court.

For further information, please see the accompanying fact sheet or contact:

Ms. Asta Sigrun Magnusdottir
Communications Officer
tel. +32 2 286 18 78
mob. +32 490 57 63 59

Other EEA Institutions

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