The right to a doctor

All inhabitants who are registered in the National Registry as living in Norway have the right to a General Practitioner/family doctor.

You have the right to a doctor
Foto: Morten Rakke / Helfo

Who is entitled to a General Practitioner?

​Everyone who is registered in the National Registry as a resident in a Norwegian municipality is entitled to have a General Practitioner (GP; "fastlege" in Norwegian).

Persons who have D-numbers are not entitled to a GP, the only exceptions are the following groups, who are entitled to a GP:

  • Asylum seekers with D-numbers, and their families
  • NATO personnel with D-numbers and their families

A D-number is an identity number assigned to people who do not meet the criteria for a standard Norwegian national identification number.

Other persons with a D-number are not entitled to a GP, but are entitled necessary medical treatment. The municipality is responsible to providing this kind of healthcare.

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 Registry within 6 months.

If you are unsure whether you are entitled to a GP, call userservice (Veiledning helsenorge.no) at +47 23 32 70 00.

General Practitioner for children under the age of 16

Children under the age of 16 get the same GP as their mother, assuming the parents have joint parental responsibility and share the same address. In the case of shared custody, the child will have the same GP as the parent with whom they live. You may choose a different GP than your own for your child. Your child does not automatically change GP when you do.

Having a General Practitioner while you are a student

GPs associated with the health service at universities and colleges can be used by students who have paid their semester fees, as well as by their children under 16. Students who move back to their former municipality within three years are entitled to return to their GP in the municipality, even if the GP's list is full.

Students who have formally moved abroad are nok entitled to return to their former GP.

Are you student connected to the student welfare organization in Oslo, SiO? Read more at SiO's own website.

Having a General Practitioner while in a nursing home

When staying in a nursing home, you are entitled to keep your regular GP, but you need to use the nursing home doctor while living there.

General Practitioner assistance in the event of acute illness

​GPs are responsible for all general medical service for their patients during opening hours. GPs will prioritise patients on their patient list over others, except in the case of acute, life-threatening illness.

In the event of acute injury or illness outside of the GP's opening hours, you must contact the out-of-hours medical service, legevakten (116 117). In life-threatening emergency, call 113.

Out-of-hours medical service

Call 116 117 to contact the out-of-hours primary care call centre for your area.

General Practitioner list, common list, shared list and group practice

​When you change your General Practitioner at helsenorge.no, you may encounter a few unfamiliar terms:

General Practitioners list (fastlegeliste): The GP has a maximum allowance for the number of patients on the patient list. If you are entitlet to a GP, you may select the one you want if there is room on the GP's list. The GP must prioritise the patients on the list over patients not on the list.

Patient list without a permanently attached GP: Municipalities may have a list that does not have a fixed GP assigned. This list will be serviced by temporary GPs or other GPs at the surgery. 

Group practice (gruppepraksis): When two or more General Practitioners share a surgery, administrative services, health personnel, waiting room and laboratories, this is called a group practice. Even if your GP is part of a group practice, it is normally only your GP who is responsible for your patient records and follow-up. But, if your GP is temporarily unavailable, one of the other GPs may substitute. 

Common list (fellesliste): General Practitioners with a common list have joint responsibility for the medical services they provide to patients on the list. Nevertheless, one of the GPs will have primary responsibility for your patient records and follow-up. You can, however, be treated by another GP at the same surgery. When making your appointment, you can choose between all the GPs who have the same common list.

Shared list (deleliste): A General Practitioner who is planning to close down his/her practice may share his/her list with another doctor at the same surgery for a while.

Responsibility for the General Practitioner scheme

The municipalities manage the General Practitioner scheme and sign agreements with individual GPs. It is the responsibility of each municipality to ensure that there are enough GPs.

Each municipality has a supervisor of GPs. This is generally the municipal doctor.

Complaints about your GP or the GP scheme

​If you are dissatisfied with your General Practitioner, you are entitled to submit a complaint.

Patient dissatisfaction with their GP is often due to communication problems. A useful first step may be to book an appointment with the GP to explain why you are unhappy. You may wish to bring someone along with you for support.

When booking the appointment, it is best to notify the GP that you wish to complain. This allows the doctor to reserve more time for the discussion. If you still feel the need to make a complaint, you can consult the person within the municipality who is responsible for the GP scheme (usually the head of health and care services) or send a complaint to the County Medical Officer (fylkeslege), with a copy to the chief municipal doctor (kommuneoverlege).

The municipality is responsible for the provision of GPs. If there are no GPs available in the municipality, you can complain to the municipal health department (chief municipal doctor).

Opting out of the General Practitioner scheme

To manage your registration with the GP scheme, call user service (Veiledning helsenorge.no) at +47 23 32 70 00.