Choosing a treatment centre - from referral to treatment

Have you been referred for treatment or examination in the specialist health service? Then you have the right to choose your place of treatment. This is how you proceed.



You will need referral to be examined or treated in the specialist health service. You do not need referral in emergency situations.

It is usually the GP who writes the referral. Psychologists, manual therapists and chiropractors can refer to a specialist in their field.

You have the right to choose which treatment center you are referred to.


Choose where you want to be treated

As a patient in the specialist health service, you have the right to choose your place of treatment.

You can choose between all public and several private treatment centres in Norway. On the service site Velg behandlingssted you will find information that may be important to you when choosing your place of treatment. You can:

If you need follow-up over time, proximity to the treatment centre and your next of kin can also be important when choosing your treatment centre.

You can choose different places of treatment for different stages of your medical treatment. This means, for instance, that your state of health can be assessed by one treatment centre, surgery can be performed by another, and rehabilitation can be provided by a third. Please note that some treatment centres prefer to conduct their own examinations on patients they are to treat. For more information, see assessment of referral (in Norwegian only).

Talk to your GP or call Guidance Helsenorge at +47 23 32 70 00 if you want guidance or advice for choosing a place of treatment.

There are some exceptions

You cannot change to another treatment centre in order to obtain more specialized treatment than you have been offered.

Your health status may affect which treatment centre you can choose. For example, some treatment centres may not accept patients being treated for multiple diagnoses at the same time.

You cannot choose a treatment centre when you need emergency treatment.

In some cases, you may choose to receive treatment abroad.


Send referral

Your GP will send the referral directly to the desired treatment location, or give you the referral so you can send it yourself.

​The referral must be sent to a treatment centre which is licensed to assess whether you are entitled to medical care. All public sector and some private sector treatment centres hold such a licence. Click here for more information about how you can find a treatment centre that can assess referrals (in Norwegian).

The public treatment centers and some private treatment centres are obliged to prioritize patients from their own health region. If you choose a treatment centre that is outside your own health region, and this treatment centre does not have sufficient capacity, you may be rejected.


Reply to referral

Treatment centres that have received your referral should within 10 days assess whether you have the right to examination and / or treatment with a specialist. You will receive a letter from the treatment centre informing you whether you have been considered eligible for health care or not.

Right to health care

If the treatment centre has considered that you are entitled to the necessary health care, you will receive a letter with information on:

  • deadline for commencement of your medical care
  • your deadline concerns the commencement of examination or treatment
  • the time of the first meeting or about when the treatment centre plans to convene the first meeting

If you have received a letter stating that you have been granted the right to necessary health care, you can choose any treatment centre in the overview that you find at the service site Velg behandlingssted.

Change of treatment site

You can switch treatment sites while waiting. Then you contact the place where you are on a waiting list and ask that the referral be sent to the treatment site you want.

Not entitled to health care

The answer to the referral is based on a medical assessment by a specialist. If the treatment center believes that you are not entitled to health care, you will receive a letter with information on it.

You can ask your GP if there is a basis for requesting a review at another treatment site.

There may in some cases be offers of investigation and / or treatment in the municipal health service. You can investigate the possibility with your GP or by visiting the municipality's website.

You have the right to appeal if your referral has been refused.


Commencement of examination or treatment

If you are unable to attend the assigned appointment you must inform the treatment centre. Then you avoid paying the fee, and someone else can have your appointment.

If you need to make preparations prior to the examination/treatment, you will receive information about this from the treatment centre.

Payment for the treatment

You pay the same deductible if you use a public treatment centre or a private treatment centre with agreement. Click here for information about the treatment centres you can choose between (in Norwegian).

If you choose a private treatment centre without agreement, you will have to pay the cost of the examination and treatment yourself. More information on deductibles can be found here

Travel expenses

If you travel to or from public approved treatment, you may be covered for travel expenses in connection with the treatment, but pay a deductible. The deductible varies depending on whether the place you are traveling to is inside or outside your own health region. For more information, see patient travel coverage.

Waiting time breaches

If the treatment site fails to meet the deadline, Helfo can help you find treatment elsewhere. More information about your rights in case of exceeded waiting time.


If you feel that your rights as a patient have not fulfilled, you can complain. For more information, see complaints procedures (in Norwegian).

Content provided by The Norwegian Directorate of Health

Last updated Sunday, January 1, 2023