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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Still no cure for doctors’ funding

Health Minister Ingvild Kjerkol has rolled out what she calls an “historic” boost in funding for Norway’s hard-pressed primary care physicians in the public sector. They weren’t impressed, however, and the search for a better cure continues.

Kjerkol, who’s also been harshly criticized for a lack of funding, constant reorganizations and top-heavy administration of the state’s hospitals, has offered the primary care physicians (called fastleger) a 20 percent increase in base pay via a new formula that will boost funding to doctors in line with the needs of patients on their lists. The greater the needs, the more funding, meaning that doctors with lots of elderly patients can receive more funding.

Doctors’ organizations, however, prefer a model that would provide less support for patients exceeding the first thousand on doctors’ lists. That would provide economic incentives to limit their job burden and keep doctors in public practice. Newspaper Dagsavisen notes it wouldn’t necessarily address the need for more doctors: Even though most primary care physicians have too many patients, as many as 200,000 Norwegians still don’t have their own physician.

Kjerkol is noneththeless prepared to boost funding for primary care physicians by around NOK 700 million, to a total of NOK 4 billion a year. She’s acting, though, before receiving the recommendations of a state commission studying the issue. She says it’s just the first step in a more major reorganization of Norway’s primary care program that will come later. staff



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