Norwegian Board of Health Supervision

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The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision (Norwegian: Statens helsetilsyn, short name Helsetilsynet) is a national government institution under the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services.

The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision is an independent supervision authority, with responsibility for general supervision of child protection, health and social services in the country. The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision directs the supervision authorities at the county level: the Offices of the County Governors.

Supervision of health and social services in Norway means ensuring that legislation is complied with[edit]

In Norway there are many acts relating to health and social services that:

  • lay down requirements for the quality of services
  • regulate the practice of health care personnel who have professional authorization
  • give users of health and social services rights, for example those laid down in the Patients’ Rights Act.

Supervision is carried out for all statutory services, including services that are provided by publicly owned hospitals, municipalities, private organizations, and health care personnel who run their own practice.

However, the supervision authorities are independent of political direction, and to a large extent decide themselves about priorities for which services to supervise and which areas supervision shall include. Priorities are decided, among other things, on the basis of information about risk and vulnerability.

The supervision authorities contribute to ensuring that:

  • the needs of the population for health and social services are met
  • services are run in accordance with statutory requirements and acceptable professional standards
  • deficiencies in provision of services are prevented
  • resources are used effectively and efficiently.

Methods used by the supervision authorities[edit]

General supervision[edit]

General supervision is supervision with an overall perspective, and involves collecting, organizing and interpreting information about health and social services from the perspective of supervision. This information forms the basis for evaluating supply and quality of services.

Planned supervision of health and social care institutions[edit]

System audits are used for supervision of health and social care institutions (municipalities, nursing homes, hospitals etc.), based on internationally accepted methodology. The institutions are investigated by reviewing documents, carrying out interviews, inspecting premises, and carrying out random checks. Conditions that are in breach of laws or regulations (nonconformities) are documented in supervision reports. The supervision authorities follow up nonconformities with the owners and management until the conditions meet the statutory requirements. Each year, the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision designates between two and four areas for countrywide supervision.

Individual cases concerning deficiencies in services[edit]

The Offices of the County Governors information about possible deficiencies in services from many sources (patients, relatives, employers, the police, the mass media). About 2 000 cases are investigated each year to determine whether there has been a breach of laws or regulations. If a breach has occurred, the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision can give an administrative reaction against the institution, in the form of instructions to correct the conditions, or an administrative reaction against health care personnel with authorization, in the form of a warning, revocation of the right to requisition medicinal products, or withdrawal of authorization.

Complaints about health and social services and failure to meet statutory rights[edit]

The Patients’ Rights Act gives the population many rights regarding health services. The Act covers the following:

  • the right to essential health care
  • assessment by a specialist physician within 30 days
  • free choice of hospital
  • access to medical records and corrections to records
  • patient participation
  • information
  • special rights for children
  • consent to medical treatment
  • individual plans for people who require several different services.

The Social Services Act covers the duty of the municipalities to provide services for the population, such as:

  • information, advice and counselling that can help to solve or prevent social problems
  • practical help and instruction for people who have special needs for assistance because of illness, functional disabilities, age etc.
  • relief for carers and salary for families and people who care for a person with extensive need for care
  • support persons and families
  • places in institutions and sheltered accommodation
  • accommodation for people with special needs.

Each year, the supervision authorities deal with 6000 to 8000 complaints about these services and rights.

Use of the findings and experience gained from supervision[edit]

The supervision authorities work actively to ensure that agencies that provide health and social services use available sources of information in their work with developing management systems and with improving the quality of services. These sources include: supervision reports, decisions made in individual cases, reports about adverse events, and publications of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision.

The findings and experience gained from supervision, other sources of information and supervision methodology are available to the public. Most of this information is available on the web site


The supervision authorities are the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision (the central office) and the Offices of the County Governor in the counties.

The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision has about 85 employees, lawyers, doctors, other types of health care personnel, child welfare and social care personnel and social scientists.

Director General is from 2012 MD Jan Fredrik Andresen.


External links[edit]