Wednesday, May 18

Low goals from a minister who should know better

Now they are putting an end to the entire freedom of choice reform.

Last week, the Labor Party’s Even Røed said on Dagsnytt 18 that there is not good enough quality assurance of health services through free choice of treatment.

In her hospital speech last Tuesday, Minister of Health Ingvild Kjerkol said that free choice of treatment contributes to cutting up our health services.

Furthermore, that free choice of treatment is the opposite of patients being seen, met and given good follow-up.

It is time to ask about the evidence for such claims.

Free choice of treatment has never been about facilitating massive purchases from private players.

Nor has it ever drained the public health service of resources.


Free choice of treatment has given and gives patients the opportunity to choose freely among approved providers of health services.

In 2020, 1,921,231 patients received treatment in Norwegian hospitals.

Approximately 60,000 patients chose treatment through free choice of treatment.

Is the scheme losing the public hospitals? No! (In fact, the health trusts pay below the tender price to free choice of treatment providers. They pay and will have to pay more to private individuals under the free choice of hospital scheme.)

Here is Kjerkol’s good news for the hospitals

When the Conservatives went to the polls to give another 100,000 patients the opportunity to choose within free choice of treatment, it is because it contributes to diversity and real freedom of choice for patients.

It is startling that the Labor Party is lying about quality control and approval of suppliers in free choice of treatment.

A number of conditions have been set for approval through regulations, and suppliers are (of course) subject to exactly the same quality requirements that follow from the legislation as the public ones, such as the due diligence requirement and regulations on internal control.

They are also subject to the same supervisory regulations as public actors.

Should know better

With what evidence can the Labor Party claim that there is poorer quality assurance of the suppliers in free choice of treatment than the public actors?

In his hospital speech, one could easily interpret the Minister of Health Kjerkol to mean that patients who choose treatment within a free choice of treatment are to be regarded as resourceful customers.

It is simply a low point from a minister who should know better.

I would never refer to any patient as a resourceful person or a customer, not whether it was the woman who needed clarification as to whether the lump in her breast was cancer, or the boy with mental illness who wanted to go to a treatment center that focused on drug-free treatment.

Demands better help for those who are struggling – this is how the Minister of Health answers

The system of free choice of hospital will not ensure patients as much freedom of choice as through free choice of treatment.

Which institutions the public hospitals enter into agreements with is decided by the health trusts themselves, not the politicians.

Full freedom of choice

Free choice of treatment is the only opportunity patients have to be able to choose treatment at institutions without an agreement with the health trusts.

When the Labor Party now wants to end the scheme, only those who can afford to pay for the stays themselves will have full freedom of choice.

It will create a two-part health service, where only those with thick wallets have freedom of choice. The Solberg government focused on the public health service, at the same time as we made room for the diversity and capacity of the private actors.

This has contributed to shorter health queues and significantly more patient treatments per year than the Labor Party could point to in its previous term of office.

Free choice of treatment is first and foremost about people, and whether patients should have some power in the face of the system, or whether this power should be given to the health trusts.

It is incomprehensible that the government will deprive patients of the freedom of choice and the opportunity to choose the offer that suits them best.

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