Increased activity in general hospitals
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Patient statistics2004



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Increased activity in general hospitals

More patients were treated at general hospitals in 2004 than in any previous year. However, the increase in 2004 was much lower than the substantial increase recorded in 2003. This pattern was observed for hospital inpatients, day cases and outpatient consultations.

The rise in the number of inpatient stays during 2004 was about 1.7 per cent, or 13 000. The total number of inpatient hospital stays was 796 500. From 2002 to 2003 this growth was 5.4 per cent.

The number of day cases increased by 40 000, or 9.5 per cent, from 2003 to 2004. The rise in the number of outpatient consultations was about 4.4 per cent, or 140 000.

The trend towards shorter stays in hospitals has continued. In 2004, the average length of stay for both men and women was 5.2 days.

Health regions

As of 1 January 2002, the responsibility for most parts of the specialist health service was transferred to the central government, and the activities were organised as five regional health enterprises (RHF). These enterprises run the state-owned general hospitals and have entered into agreements with private hospitals run by foundations. In addition, they buy services from commercial hospitals.

Number of inpatient hospital stays, day cases and outpatient
consultations, by Regional Health Authority (RHA). 2004
hospital stays
Day cases1 Outpatient
Total  796 493  460 210 3 362 063
Eastern Norway RHA  237 481  127 333 1 014 748
Southern Norway RHA  191 335  128 688  764 990
Western Norway RHA  152 545 80 123  639 990
Central Norway RHA  108 382 57 638  548 766
Northern Norway RHA 83 346 46 563  393 569
Private hospitals without RHA agreement 23 404 19 865 -
1  Includes both day cases inpatient and day cases outpatient.

During 2004, the regional health enterprise for western Norway had the largest increase in day cases and outpatient consultations in relative terms. This health region also had a stronger growth than average for inpatient stays. In comparison, the regional health enterprise for northern Norway only had a slight increase in activities in the same period, both with regard to inpatient stays in hospital, day cases and outpatient consultations.

Commercial hospitals

The proportion of publicly paid inpatient hospital stays at commercial hospitals was reduced from 3.1 per cent to 2.9 per cent from 2003 to 2004. However, the share of day cases increased from 2.6 to 4.3 per cent. Privately financed stays in commercial hospitals are not included in the patient statistics.


The distribution of hospital stays by diagnosis has remained stable over the years. In 2004, one in seven inpatient stays was for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, while one in ten inpatient stays was for the treatment of neoplasm and injuries. The main diagnoses for day cases were diseases of the muscular-skeletal system, connective tissue diseases and diseases of the eye and adnexa. The main diagnoses for outpatients were injuries and poisoning and diseases of the muscular-skeletal system and connective tissue.


Statistics Norway's patient statistics are based on data from the Norwegian Patient Register, which is owned by the Ministry of Health and Care Services and run by Sintef Health Research. Only general hospitals are included in the patient statistics. The Norwegian Patient Register also includes some other small institutions with 3 700 inpatient hospital stays, 2 800 day cases and 12 000 outpatient consultations in total in 2004. Healthy newborns are also excluded from the patient statistics.