Trapped in Treatment: Effects of Work Place Absence on Long Term Employment

The purpose of the project is to gain insight into effects on long-term employment on having to wait for specialist health-care treatment. Results from the project may illuminate what groups of workers need support after having to wait for a long time for treatment to avoid that their labor market attachment is weakened. The study uses sensitive information about the health of de-identified individuals.

Project details

Project manager
Kjetil Telle
Universitetet of Stavanger, Stavanger universitetssjukehus
Project term
01.03.2012 - 31.12.2015
Project status
Research field

About the Project

The long waiting time for specialist health treatments has raised public and political concerns for particularly two reasons. First, long waiting time may affect the prognosis of the treatment, particularly for some diagnoses as cancer. Second, long waiting time is expensive for the Norwegian welfare state as many patients receive full sick leave compensation from the government while waiting. In this project we study a possible third concern with long waiting time, not so often mentioned in the public and political debate: We investigate if the waiting-time for specialist health treatments has any effects on long term labor market attachment. If individuals are not able to work while waiting for treatment, then the long waiting time may weaken individuals’ attachment to the labor market and make it hard to return to work, independently on the effect the waiting-time has on health outcomes. The study relies on waiting time data from Stavanger University Hospital (SUS) and population-wide registry data from Statistisk Norway (SSB), and the study thus uses sensitive health related information about de-identified individuals who have been treated at SUS since 2000. The project will aim at separating the effect of work place absence per se from the effect of waiting for treatment on the medical success of the treatment.