Norway and health: An introduction
Publisher/Organizer: Norwegian Directorate of Health
Publication date: 2009
“It is firmly anchored in the Norwegian traditional political tenet that society is collectively responsible for the welfare of its citizens. Thus, an overarching aim is to provide services of high quality, available within acceptable waiting times and distances, reaching out to everyone regardless of their financial situation, social status, age, gender and ethnic background.
During the last four decades, Norway has undergone a substantial socio-economic transformation, and is now among the wealthiest nations in the world. This development has been of great significance to the health status of the nation, the services provided and the public expectations of the health services.
A national health system is the result of a dynamic interplay between health needs, public expectations, professions, interest groups and available resources. As all these elements change over time, the system is in constant evolution.
To be adequate, a health system in evolution has to contain mechanisms for priority and capacity revision, quality assurance, structural adjustment, and optimal resource utilisation. One major concern in Norway as an egalitarian society is the growing disparity in health between social groups, in spite of universal access to care and services. A comprehensive policy on social determinants of health is developed in order to reduce social inequalities in health.
The principal elements of the structure and activities are outlined here, with a slight bias to the work under the responsibility of the Norwegian Directorate of Health. There have been many contributors, which is apparent in the variation in writing style of the chapters.”