This is an archived release.
Strong growth in operating costs
The strongest growth in operating cost in the specialist health service was seen in somatic care, with an expenditure growth of 8.4 per cent. The strongest growth in relative terms was seen in psychiatric health care for children and youth, which had an increase in operating costs of 13.3 per cent.
Operating costs for the specialist health service amounted to NOK 80.5 billion in 2006. This includes regional costs for specialist health service, irrespective of whether the costs are spent on hospital operations, agreements with private specialists or purchases of health services from private suppliers in Norway and abroad. The costs are related to the regions’ provider responsibility. There were five regional health enterprises in 2006.
The total growth in operating costs in the specialist health service from 2005 to 2006 was NOK 6.4 billion, or 8.7 per cent.
93 per cent of the operating costs went to the four service areas general care, psychiatric health care for adults, psychiatric health care for children and youth and substance abuse treatment. The remaining 7 per cent comprise costs for administration of the regional health enterprises, costs related to recruitment, ambulance service/air ambulance service and transport of patients and health personnel.
The distribution of operating costs between the different service areas remained stable in 2005 and 2006. Whereas 72 per cent went to general care and 15 per cent went to psychiatric health care for adults, psychiatric health care for children and youth and substance abuse treatment both accounted for 3 per cent of total operating costs.
General care had the strongest growth in absolute figures. From 2005 to 2006, this area had an increase in operating costs of NOK 4.5 billion, or 8.4 per cent. The increase was partly due to the introduction of new tasks in the specialist health service in connection with the hospital reform of 2002. Government appropriations to the regional health enterprises from the Ministry of Health and Care Services have increased every year since the reform due to new tasks specified in the national budget, cf. Report no. 1 to the Storting. There has been a gradual transfer of new tasks over several years, for instance greater responsibility for private rehabilitation institutions, compensation to patients and financing of TNF-alpha inhibitors (medication which reduces inflammation and is used in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and skin diseases). Several of these tasks were previously financed by NAV.
Strong growth in psychiatric health care in relative terms
Psychiatric health care for children and youth had the strongest increase in operating costs in relative terms from 2005 to 2006. The increase amounted to slightly less than NOK 0.3 billion or 13.3 per cent. The development reflects the increase in activities in this area and is in line with political goals.
More out-patient consultations
Out-patient consultations in the specialist health service as a whole rose by 1.1 million from 2002 to 2006, an increase of 29 per cent. The main part of this growth took place in psychiatric health care for children and youth, where the number of out-patient consultations more than doubled in this period.
Small decline in beds
For the specialist health service as a whole there has been a small decline in the number of beds. When substance abuse treatment was introduced as a new treatment area in 2004, it partly offset the decline in beds. However, private substance abuse treatment institutions were treated differently in the statistics in 2004 than in the following two years. As a result, there seems to be a decline in the number of beds from 2004 to 2005.
The decline in the number of beds was accompanied by a decline in bed-days. This decline has been particularly evident for institutions in psychiatric health care for adults and is partly due to the growth in out-patient consultations.