Waiting time for a response to a referral
Once the specialist health service has received your referral, it will have two deadlines to meet:
- It must assess the referral and respond within 10 working days.
- If serious illness is suspected, you will be entitled to a faster assessment.
What should you do if you do not receive a response by the deadline?
If you do not receive any feedback by the deadline, you can request the response by:
- contact the treatment centre which received your referral
- contact your GP or the person who referred you
If this does not help, contact the patient and user ombudsman for advice or submit an appeal.
What does the response to your referral say?
The response letter you receive concerning your referral should state the following:
If your first appointment has not been arranged by the time the response is sent out, you should be told when the treatment centre plans to call you to this appointment. The response will also be sent to the person who referred you.
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.
Conditions for entitlement to healthcare
Whether or not you need healthcare from the specialist health service is a medical question. The treatment centre that receives your referral will assess this question. The decision itself will be made by a health professional, normally a specialist doctor.
The decision will be based on:
- the information provided in the referral
- a specific, individual assessment of your health condition, based on the information given in the referral
- national guidelines and recommendations prepared by the Norwegian Directorate of Health
The assessment may have one of two outcomes:
- You are entitled to healthcare from the specialist health service
You will be offered assessment and/or treatment at a hospital or by a specialist. At the same time, you will be given a binding deadline for the start of your healthcare.
- Rejection: You are not entitled to healthcare from the specialist health service
The assessment concluded that you do not need to undergo medical investigations or be treated by the specialist health service. This will normally mean that your GP or other areas of the health service will be able to treat you satisfactorily.
The specialist health service will be obliged to assess your referral within 10 working days of receiving the referral. The response must be given in writing. If serious illness is suspected, the assessment must be carried out sooner.
Conditions for entitlement to healthcare
A number of conditions must be met in order for you to be entitled to essential healthcare from the specialist health service:• You must need healthcare from the specialist health service.
- It is expected that you will benefit from the healthcare.
- The cost of the healthcare is in reasonable proportion to the expected benefits of the healthcare.
- The healthcare falls within the framework of the services that the specialist health service is responsible for providing and funding.
If your application is rejected, you can request that you be re-assessed
If your referral is rejected on the grounds that you are not entitled to healthcare from the specialist health service, you can ask your GP whether there are any grounds for requesting a re-assessment of your health condition at another treatment centre. You can choose which treatment centre your GP should send the new referral to, but the treatment centre must be authorised to assess referrals.
You can request a re-assessment at another treatment centre if:
- you disagree with the deadline you have been given for the start of your healthcare
- you disagree with the assessment or the severity of your condition
- you disagree with the proposed treatment program
You can only request a re-assessment for the same condition on one occasion.
If you believe that your patient rights would be breached by the re-assessment, you can appeal to the County Governor (statsforvalteren.no). The County Governor can review all aspects of the case.
Entitlement to re-assessment
If you disagree with the specialist health service's assessment of your referral, you can request that the referral be re-assessed.