Norwegian doctors protest at rising charges for patients

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 01 July 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:10
  1. Sandra Goldbeck-Wood
  1. BMJ

    The president of the Norwegian Medical Association, Dr Hans Petter Aarseth, joined picket lines outside Norway's national parliament last month to protest at the government's decision to increase charges for patients consulting their GPs. The association joined the representatives from the national heart and lung campaign and from patient organisations.

    The latest increase of 3.5% takes the overall rise in charges to patients over the past three years to 40% and doctors say the move represents a tax on sickness.

    “Every time the politicians need a few million, they take them from the chronically sick. If more money is needed, politicians should increase general taxation,” said Dr Aarseth.

    Charges to patients have always formed part of the Norwegian primary care system and are levied on consultations, prescription drugs, and use of rehabilitation institutions. The minimum cost of a consultation with a GP is about £10 ($15)—or about £15 with laboratory tests.

    Embedded Image

    Dr Hans Petter Aarseth joins the protest over user charges outside Norway's parliament

    (Credit: SCANPIXNORGE)

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