Changing your regular doctor

You can find and change to a different General Practitioner (GP)/family doctor at Helsenorge ("Bytte fastlege"). If the GP you want to change to is not available, you can register on the waiting list.

The GP situation

Shortage of GPs: It is the municipality that is responsible for ensuring that you receive GP services, but many municipalities in Norway do not have enough GPs.

When you have lost your GP: If you have lost your GP and have been moved to a list without a permanent GP, you are still affiliated with a doctor’s surgery. This will often be the doctor’s surgery where you had your GP.

Don’t leave it to the last minute: Due to the current capacity problems, make sure you contact the doctor’s surgery well in advance to have your prescriptions renewed, etc.

A change of regular GP is effective from the first day of the following month.

With the «Bytte fastlege» option, you can find and change your regular GP yourself. (This service is available in Norwegian only.)

Two ordinary changes of regular GP

You are permitted to change your GP two times in one calendar year.
In addition to ordinary changes, you can change your regular GP if you report a change of address to the Norwegian National Registry or if your regular GP leaves the surgery or cuts his/her patient list.

You can also choose a regular GP in a different municipality to the one in which you live.

If you move to another municipality within Norway and later move back to your original municipality within three years, you may be reassigned to your original GP if you register this move in the National Population Register within 6 months.

When you change GP independently at Helsenorge, you will receive a receipt confirming the change. The receipt will be archived as a message in your inbox at Helsenorge.

You can be placed on a waiting list

If you log in to the «Bytte fastlege» service at Helsenorge, you can change your regular GP for both yourself and your own children living at the same address.

Do you not live at the same address as your children?

You will now be able to place the same names on a waiting list. You can only be placed on one waiting list at a time.

As soon as the GP has a spot available, the change is effective automatically from the first day of the next calendar month. Helfo will send a letter to confirm this if you have been on a waiting list.

How long is the waiting list?

The length of time you have to wait to be allocated to a GP who has a waiting list varies. In municipalities with a large GP shortage, many of the GPs have long waiting lists. It may take a long time before you get a place with one of these GPs – sometimes up to a year or longer. 

A GP’s patient list is only open when there are 10 available spots. When the patient list is opened, priority is given to inhabitants who are not on a GP list and who live in the municipality. Inhabitants on the waiting list are then admitted. If there are less than 10 persons on the waiting list, the list will remain open until those 10 spots have been filled.

A GP can choose to lock his list. You cannot put yourself on a waiting list with a doctor with a locked list. If you are already on a waiting list with a doctor with a locked list, you must expect that it may take time before the doctor opens his list for new patients.

Transferral of medical records following a change of regular GP

​When you change your regular GP, it is your responsibility to ensure that your medical records are transferred to the new GP. Simply contact your former GP/surgery to provide information about the new GP.

Medical records with your GP

​Your medical records contain notes made by your GP when treating you and providing follow-up. Information from hospitals, specialists and other health institutes, such as the results of X-rays or other tests, are all entered in the records.
Only you and the healthcare personnel involved in your treatment have access to the records.
How to access your medical records 

Authorising a change of regular GP for someone else

To contact Helfo on behalf of someone else, you need to have power of attorney. Parents/guardians also require power of attorney for children older than 16 years. This is because the age of consent in Norwegian health care is 16 years.
 

Medical records contain sensitive information and should not be transmitted by e-mail. We therefore request that you send the power of attorney to Helfo by letter in the post. Remember to enclose a copy of valid proof of your identity. Complete the power of attorney form and send it to Helfo, Postboks 2415, 3104 Tønsberg.

Content provided by Helfo

Helfo. Changing your regular doctor. [Internet]. Oslo: The Norwegian Directorate of Health; updated Tuesday, September 5, 2023 [retrieved Saturday, February 24, 2024]. Available from: https://www.helsenorge.no/en/change-doctor-gp/about/

Last updated Tuesday, September 5, 2023