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Medical Tourism to Norway

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Overview

Norway is quickly emerging as one of the foremost and forward-thinking healthcare systems in the world. Norway has recently been attracting a great deal of medical tourists and is becoming a popular destination for diagnostic imaging (CT scans, MRI scans, ultrasounds, X-rays, mammography and bone density measures) due to the low cost and exceptionally trained medical staff that provide first class services. The cost of medical procedures in Norway is drastically less when compared to countries such as the Japan, USA, or Canada.

Norway Healthcare System

The healthcare system in Norway is separated into public and private sectors, but the majority of hospitals and services are publically funded and owned by the state. A very small number of hospitals are privately owned and operated. Interestingly enough, a large number of the private hospitals are publically funded. All public hospitals in Norway are managed by four Regional Health Authorities (RHA), which is overseen by the Ministry of Health and Care Services.

As previously mentioned, the public funds most hospitals in Norway as part of the country’s national budget. Medical procedures and treatment are free of charge for any person individual younger than the age of sixteen. Norwegians older than 16 are required to pay a deductible each year before becoming eligible for what’s known as an exemption card. These exemption cards permits a person to free healthcare for the remainder of the issuing year.

The Norwegian Board of Health, an independent supervisory board, governs health and Social Services in Norway and assesses the safety and adherence to standard regulations in local hospitals and clinics. This arrangement is similar with the UK’s healthcare Commission.

When traveling to Norway for medical services, it is advisable to seek care in one of their leading private hospitals rather than having the procedure done through the public healthcare system. Please note, the vast majority of hospitals in Norway are public, so there might be some extended waiting periods to visit at a private institution depending on the time of the year. Be sure to plan accordingly.

Norway does not have any hospitals accredited by the Join Commission International currently. Hospitals in Norway have verifying accrediting bodies including the Directorate of Health and Social Affairs, as well as the aforementioned Ministry of Health and Care Services, RHA, and Norwegian Board of Health.

Top hospitals for medical tourism in Norway

  • Oslo University Hospital: The Oslo University Hospital is the largest and main hospital in all of Scandinavia, with a work force of around 25,000 employees. Established 2009, the hospital came to fruition by means of the merger of three of the university hospitals in Oslo, Norway: Rikshospitalet, Ullevål University Hospital, and Aker University Hospital. Over half of all Norwegian medical research is conducted at this facility.
  • St. Olvas hospital HF: St. Olav’s University Hospital is the hospital in Trondheim, Norway. It is part of St. Olavs Hospital Trust network that runs all the hospitals in Sør-Trøndelag and thus they are state owned. St. Olvas hospital HF first opened its doors in 1902. The hospital had an impressive year in 2005, performing 274,441 somatic and 88,692 psychiatric with a mere 8,691 employees.
  • Sørlandet Hospital Kristiansand: Sørlandet Hospital Kristiansand is located in Kristiansand, Vest-Agder County in Norway, and is one of the three public hospitals within the Hospital of Southern Norway. It is a regional hospital previously known as Kristiansand Sentralsykehus and was located in Tordenskjoldsgate in Kvadraturen

Common treatments done by medical tourists in Norway

  • Cancer Diagnostics and Treatment (top performer in breast and cervical cancer treatments)
  • Breast Augmentation (implants, reconstructive, etc.)
  • Elective Surgery (knee and hip replacements, cataract surgery)
  • Heart Attack/Stroke treatments
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Minimally invasive surgeries
  • Specialized Mental Health and Addiction services
  • Infertility Treatment

Cost of medical treatments in Norway

The following are cost comparisons between Medical procedures in Norway and equivalent procedures in the United States:
Medical Procedures
Procedure US Hospitals Norway Average Savings
Breast Augmentation (standard) $5,000-$10,000 $500-$800 90% - 92%
Knee Replacement (average) $49,500 $3,630 92%
In-Vitro fertilization $15,000 $2,838 81%

Malpractice and liability laws in Norway

Norway concluded that a traditional compensation law based on negligence is not the correct way to determine whether or not a patient shall get compensation if required after medical treatment or other forms of contact with the medical profession, as these situations tend to be multi-layered and extremely complex. Established in 1988, The Norwegian System of Compensation to Patience (NCBI) has received almost 18000 claims since Jan 1 1988, and has paid out more than 1.2 billion NOK ($137 million USD). Norway has also seen a decrease in the number of compensation claims brought before the courts. After 13 years of a provisional scheme managing patient injury compensation based on no-fault rules, Norway official found that compensation claims could be handled effectively without focusing on blame and negligence. This method ensures both that the patients get adequate compensation and that needless legal proceedings do not take place

Pros

  • Leading Medical Professionals

    Surgeons and Doctors in Norway undergo many years of intensive training and education, and are typically registered through the General Medical Council in the UK.
  • Vacation destination

    Often described as the “Home of Skiing”, Norway is located in northern Europe alongside Sweden, Finland, and Russia to the east. The results of past Ice Ages and land erosion have left Norway with some of the most stunning and picturesque landscapes known to man. Be prepared to be completely relaxed and tranquil during your recovery in Norway.
  • English is spoken by the general public

    Approximately 90% of all Norwegians speak English as a second language (a percentage that’s even higher in Norwegian healthcare professionals).

Cons

  • Lack of JCI accreditations

    No JCI accredited hospitals in the country.
  • Long waiting list for some private Hospitals

    Because health coverage is free for some and financially feasible and readily available for others, the wait times to be seen at public and, in some cases, private hospitals is long in comparison to other neighboring countries.
  • High Cost of Living

    The cost of living in Norway is high and even on par with some countries that are much more developed. If you are planning to have an extended stay or recover period, it is advisable to look at lodging rates and accommodations ahead of time and make plans accordingly. Be sure to look at surrounding restaurants to plan your eating accommodations as well, as foods and other products can be more expensive than foreigners are used to.

Traveling to Norway

Average estimated travel time in hours
From/To Norway
New York 8
Los Angeles 13.25
Miami 9.5
Toronto 9.25
Paraguay 16
Venezuela 11
Bolivia 15
Dubai 7
Riyadh 6.5
Kuwait 6
London 2

Entry and exit requirements to Norway

Norway is a part of the Schengen Agreement. This means that those traveling to Norway may enter the country for up to 90 days over a period of 180 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the period of stay and travelers must have adequate funds and a return airline ticket.

Statistics for medical tourism in Norway

Medical Tourism is growing at a fast rate in Norway, and it comprises a vital component of Norway’s overall tourism strategy. In recent years, Norway has begun welcoming and even promoting a growing number of foreign patients at their local facilities. Norwegian officials have followed the example set by Dubai and are now embracing the future that medical tourism can bring.

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