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Sunday 24th June 2018

Healthcare in Norway

27th March 2007

Norway is a country that scores highly in many areas; beautiful scenery, excellent educational facilities and a well developed public health service.

oldwomanthinking2QNorway first established public hospitals during the 18th century and the country had set up specialist psychiatric wards a century later. As the country developed its welfare state system during the mid 20th century, its public health service also grew rapidly and saw improvements in the provision of primary, secondary and tertiary care to all regardless of status or income. As with most healthcare systems throughout the world, Norway’s medical provision was significantly boosted by the invention of the X-ray and the development of modern anaesthetics.

Norwegian public heath services are financed by the tax-payer and operate as part of the country’s welfare state system. Since the late 19th century the number of patients per physician has dropped from 4000 to 285. The public health sector is one of the largest employers in the country, providing work for 220,000 people. The public health service is ultimately controlled by the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs but the provision of primary health services has been decentralised to local areas.

Typically for a wealthy western country, the biggest challenge facing the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs is an ageing population which is putting the health service under great strain. Better medical provision has meant the public health service in Norway has become a victim of its own success; citizens live longer and therefore place an increasing burden on the available facilities.

Good health registers and large population-based health studies have established Norway as a global leader in population health research and cause and risk analysis. The country boasts excellent medical technology, neurobiology, cancer research and preventative medicine institutions. Norway is also committed to contributing to global medical research and has been particularly active in researching causes and cures for diseases affecting those in developing countries.

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