The first aspect to consider is that the treatment you receive abroad must be equivalent to what you would receive in Norway, and may need to be followed up by the Norwegian specialist health service. In some cases, there may be slight differences that make it difficult to provide follow-up care in Norway.
In the event of acute complications, it may in some cases also be difficult for the hospital in Norway to provide follow-up care for treatment provided abroad. This is because the procedure and/or the devices (e.g. implants) used may be of a different type than those used in Norway.
For follow-up care in Norway, you will have to join the ordinary waiting-list system.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria (in Norwegian), such as the «Staph» bacteria called MRSA (meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), pose an increasing health risk in many countries. You will need to bear in mind that the risk of being infected with such bacteria is higher if you travel outside Norway for treatment.
If you have been hospitalised or received extensive outpatient care or dental care outside the Nordic region within the last 12 months, your regular GP will have to test you for strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria before you can receive treatment from a hospital in Norway.
If you have any questions about this, please consult your GP.
Patient injury compensation
All forms of medical treatment carry a risk. If anything goes wrong during the medical care you receive in Norway, you can apply for compensation from the Norwegian System of Patient Injury Compensation (NPE).
If the medical care was provided in one of the Nordic countries, you can apply for compensation through the national systems for patient injury compensation in the individual countries. The NPE can advise you on how to proceed.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of treatment abroad, the rules in the country of treatment regarding compensation prevail, and you are personally responsible for claiming compensation.
If the country has a dedicated body for patient injury compensation, you will need to contact this body yourself. The National Contact Point in the country of treatment (in Norwegian) can assist you in contacting the right body. Alternatively, you may need to claim compensation for injury sustained as a result of medical care directly from the place of treatment.
The Norwegian Patient Injury Act only applies to hospitals and doctors abroad if the Norwegian health service has concluded a prior agreement with the place of treatment in a contract for procurement of services. An example of this cover would be when patients are sent abroad as a result of a maximum waiting time guarantee.
Returning to Norway
If you have had a surgical procedure, you may be advised that you should wait before flying home. Any stay abroad while you wait to fly home will be at your own expense.
If you require an alternative form of transport, for example, an extra seat on a plane, this will be at your own expense. If you need a companion to assist you, the cost of companion travel is also non-reimbursable.
Generally, only a fraction of travel expenses is reimbursable.
All forms of medical treatment carry a risk, and in some cases, the worst happens. Next of kin may face the additional burden that repatriation of the deceased is not covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.
An exception is if death occurs in one of the Nordic countries, in which case repatriation of the body is covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme (only in Norwegian).