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Your right to complain

You are entitled to complain if you believe that you are being deprived of your rights as a patient or that you have not received the health or care services you are entitled to. Next of kin also have a right to complain.

Foto: Johnér Bildbyrå AB

For example, you can complain about the following:

  • Treatments and services
  • Lack of follow-up
  • Premature discharge
  • Long waiting times
  • Not receiving the medical care you are entitled to
  • Not receiving treatment from your preferred treatment centre

Next of kin can complain about:

  • Being deprived of their rights as the next of kin
  • On behalf of patients who are unable to complain themselves
    (You must have authority to complain on behalf of the patient)

Send the complaint to the department which your complaint concerns

​If you wish to complain, you must send a written complaint to the department you wish to complain about, for example the unit in the health or care service responsible for the treatment which your complaint concerns. The unit which your complaint concerns must be given an opportunity to assess your complaint and revise their original decision. If they still disagree with you, they will forward your complaint to the county governor. In the case of municipal or county council services, the complaints body may not be the county governor.

What should I state in my complaint?

​You must state your name and address in your complaint. You should also state your telephone number. If you are a patient or user, you should state your Norwegian national ID number.

You must also explain what the complaint is about and who made the decision you are complaining about. If you are complaining about a written decision, you should enclose a copy of the decision.

You should also explain what you think is wrong and why you believe it is wrong. You should also state how you want the decision you are complaining about to be changed.

The Patient and User Ombudsman will assist you with your complaint.

​If you want help to write a complaint or you need advice and guidance about what to do, you can contact the Patient and User Ombudsman in your county. They will also be able to answer general questions about health services and can attend meetings with medical personnel and case officers with you

Making a complaint is free

It does not cost anything to complain or to have your complaint considered. You do not need to pay any fees. This applies regardless of whether or not your complaint is upheld.

If you seek legal assistance, you will normally have to pay for such assistance. If your complaint is upheld, you can apply for reimbursement of your essential legal expenses from the Norwegian State.

Deadline for making a complaint

The deadline for submitting a complaint is normally four weeks after you became aware of the decision. The deadline may be shorter for some municipal and county council services.  Contact your municipal authority to find out more.

If your complaint concerns something which occurred a long time ago, the body which your complaint concerns or the county governor may not consider the complaint. Even if the deadline has passed, the body which your complaint concerns and the county governor must always assess whether it is reasonable for the decision to be reviewed.

The decision made following your complaint is final

​You cannot appeal against the county governor's decision concerning your case. Both you and the body which your complaint concerns must comply with the county governor's decision.

Complaints commission for treatment abroad

A specific complaints committee, the Complaints Commission for Treatment Abroad (Klagenemnda for behandling i utlandet) is the complaints body which deals with cases concerning treatments which are available abroad but not in Norway. The commission considers complaints where the health service in Norway is refusing to request and/or cover the cost of treatment provided abroad.

Supervisory cases

​If you believe that medical personnel have made a mistake or broken the law when treating you, you can inform the county governor of this. These are called supervisory cases.

If the health service and the medical personnel have not acted in accordance with their obligations, this will be pointed out to them and they will be ordered to change their practices. In serious cases, the county governor will ask the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision to take action against the health service by issuing orders or warnings or revoking authorisations.

It helps to complain

​Around a third of the people who complain that they have not received essential health and care services have their complaint upheld by the county governor. In such cases, the county governor will amend the decision himself, or ask the health service to review their decision.