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OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality: Norway 2014

Raising Standards

image of OECD Reviews of Health Care Quality: Norway 2014

This book presents a comprehensive review of health care quality in Norway. It finds that 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. On most indicators Norway’s health system appears to be performing well, although there is some room for improvement. There have been a number of significant health care reforms in Norway over the last decade, most recently the Coordination Reform, which took effect in January 2012.

Broadly this is a positive story, but challenges do lie ahead for Norway. Norway is putting in place measures to respond to these challenges, notably with the 2012 Coordination Reform, but still has some way to go before the fruits of such labour are truly felt across the health system. Norway’s ambitious reform agenda must now be balanced by structured efforts ‘on the ground’. Attention should now turn to putting in place appropriate data infrastructures, promoting meaningful engagement between key stakeholders, and by balancing a generous health budget that allows for important investments in developing new structures and services with attention to getting the most out of existing services.

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Mental health in Norway

Norway’s mental health system appears to broadly offer good, appropriate care to the whole population, with Norway having committed significant efforts and resources to improvements across recent decades. These efforts – strengthening care in the community provided by municipalities, increasing specialist services, increasing resources going into the system and making mental health a policy priority – suggest that Norway is moving towards having a strong and comprehensive mental health system. In terms of collecting indicators of mental health care quality Norway is also making impressive progress in many respects.

However, shortcomings in Norway’s mental health system remain, and Norway can do more to secure high-quality mental health care for the whole population. There are opportunities for Norway to further strengthen data collection and to use data to help drive improvements in outcomes, to ensure that all mental disorders are appropriately treated, to make sure that responsibilities for service delivery amongst health authorities are clearly established and followed through, to promote better co-ordination, and to assure high quality of mental health care across the country.

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