Nonattendance fees versus legal protection?



    When the fee for not attending appointments in the specialist health services is increased to NOK 1 500 in 2023, we may ask whether the legal protection of patients should also be increased.

    In the state budget for 2023 we find a small, but important Christmas present: the nonattendance fee is being increased to the handsome sum of NOK 1 500 (1, 2). A Christmas gift for the health services, patients and the average citizen, assuming that the fee has an impact on the intended causal chain, which has the following formula: the prospect of a fee of NOK 1 500 helps motivate more patients to show up for their appointments or call in to reschedule if they are prevented from attending, so that waiting times in the hospitals are reduced, patients receive help more quickly, and the health services are run more efficiently.

    Is it the dose or the medication?

    Is it the dose or the medication?

    Whether it is the dose of the medication that should be upped – from NOK 1 125 last year to NOK 1 500 this year – or whether the medication should be discontinued or have its formula changed are questions that my doctoral project hopefully may help elucidate. In this project I examine the Norwegian debate from the 1990s until today, applying document analysis to study the argumentation and the underlying rationale for applying the fee. In parallel, a sample of respondents from the general population are asked about their views on the fee. In the conclusion, these analytical strands will be gathered together in an ethical analysis of such fees. When the research results are ready, they will hopefully provide us with a better basis for discussing nonattendance fees in Norwegian hospitals.

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