Health Centres – help when needed? Summary of countrywide supervision of health centres in 2013
Summary of Report of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision 4/2014
Dealing with problems at an early stage is very important for children’s health and development. In 2013, the Offices of the County Governors carried out countrywide supervision of health services provided in health centres for children aged 0–6 years. They investi¬gated 78 health centres in municipalities and urban districts, and found at least one breach of laws or regulations in 56 places.
Failure to comply with the health centre’s programme for examination of children
In the national guidelines for health centres of the Norwegian Directorate of Health, a programme for health examinations is recommended. The Offices of the County Governors found that in many municipalities the programme had been reduced, without carrying out an adequate assessment of the consequences, and without implementing necessary measures to compensate for this.
Lack of co-operation for services for children with special needs
In one-quarter of the health centres, we found that allocation of responsibility was unclear, contracts were lacking, and routines for co-operation between health centres and general practitioners were inadequate. The result can be that no-one takes responsibility for following up these children.
Inadequate patient records
In some municipalities, patient records were not recorded in a consistent manner, and they were often incomplete. Patient records could be written at different places, for example at the clinic of the general practitioner, without the health centre receiving a copy.
Failure to meet the requirements of the duty of confidentiality
In some health centres, information about the health and private life of the parents was recorded in the child’s records. Not all of this information was directly relevant for the health and care of the child. This information could be available to the child, when the child comes of age.
Lack of qualified interpreters
In some health centres, friends, relatives and other people were used as interpreters. In such cases, we cannot be certain that important information is correctly understood. Also, private persons who do not have a duty of confidentiality may get information
Report of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision 4/2014 (pdf in Norwegian)