Right to a binding deadline

Have you received a response to your referral informing you that you are entitled to healthcare from the specialist health service? If so, the response should also include a binding deadline for the latest date by which you should be called to your first appointment.

What does the binding deadline mean?

The response you receive concerning your referral should state:

  • A deadline for the latest start of your healthcare.
  • The time of your first appointment, or alternatively a statement of when the treatment centre expects to call you to your first appointment.

The deadline you are given is a legally binding deadline for the treatment centre. It must be a specific time and indicate how long it would be prudent to let you wait before your medical investigation or treatment starts.

The second time will be the time you must attend for your first appointment. This time is not binding, but it must be before the binding deadline for the start of your healthcare.

How is the deadline determined?

The specialist health service will base the deadline on the Directorate of Health's priority guides. These guides state the recommended maximum deadlines for different medical conditions and diagnoses assessed at group level. Nevertheless, all referrals are assessed individually, so the waiting time for the start of investigations or treatment will vary from patient to patient.

The statutory deadline must not be governed by the capacity of the specialist health service. The waiting time for healthcare may depend partly on the capacity at the treatment centre, but must nevertheless be both justifiable and within the deadline.

What should you do if you disagree with the deadline?

You have several options if your referral is rejected or you disagree with the deadline for the commencement of your healthcare. You can contact the treatment centre or ask the person who referred you or your GP whether there are any grounds for requesting a re-assessment at another treatment centre, or you can appeal against a full or partial rejection. You can choose which treatment centre your GP will send the referral for a re-assessment to. You can also check whether other treatment centres have shorter waiting times.

If you also disagree with the re-assessment, you can appeal to the County Governor (statsforvalteren.no).

What should you do if the deadline is broken or postponed?

If you are not given a time for your first appointment for medical investigations or treatment by the binding deadline, the treatment centre must contact Helfo. If you wish, they will help you find an alternative treatment offer elsewhere, within the statutory deadline.

You can also opt to receive the healthcare at the original treatment centre, even if this means that you receive the healthcare after the statutory deadline. Breaching the deadline does not necessarily mean that it is unjustifiable to let you wait beyond the statutory deadline.

You can also contact Helfo yourself if you believe that the deadline has been breached. You will find more information about your rights in the event of a deadline being breached here.

Health and Social Services Ombudsman

The ombudsman can help you with questions about health services and provide advice and guidance concerning your rights.

Content provided by The Norwegian Directorate of Health

The Norwegian Directorate of Health. Right to a binding deadline. [Internet]. Oslo: The Norwegian Directorate of Health; updated Thursday, April 15, 2021 [retrieved Tuesday, April 16, 2024]. Available from: https://www.helsenorge.no/en/health-rights-in-norway/sykehus-og-spesialist/rett-til-bindende-frist/

Last updated Thursday, April 15, 2021