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The aim of this report is to share our experiences gained from supervision of services for people with mental disorders. In the report, we identify challenges for specialist health services and the municipalities, and we describe areas that in our view require extra resources and more and better skilled personnel in order to improve the services.

The report presents the results of supervision carried out in 2005 and 2006. We describe our experiences, assessments and opinions based on interviews with a selection of the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision in the Counties and the Offices of the County Governors. Finally, experience gained from supervision is discussed in the light of recent research results. Many municipalities and health institutions struggle to recruit and keep hold of personnel, and to organize services that are in line with sound professional standards to groups of people with greatly differing needs.

The result can be reduced availability of services for certain groups, and services that are not entirely appropriate for the people they are aimed at. Despite significant improvements over the last few years, services for many people who need comprehensive and varied services are still inadequate and often not adapted to individual needs. It should therefore be considered whether the measures provided are good enough.

The supervision authorities are concerned that in many places there is insufficient knowledge about the legislation and little understanding about the significance of the legislation for ensuring provision of treatment that is in line with sound professional standards and that meets people’s basic legal rights.

The Norwegian Board of Health Supervision recommends that the relevant ministries should give homeless people with mental disorders the right established by law to permanent housing. In connection with the development plan for mental health, it should be considered using more effective means to ensure that necessary skills and competence are available at all levels. The services have responsibility for improving cooperation between different sectors and levels. It may also be necessary to follow up agreements for cooperation between the municipalities and the health trusts, in accordance with the Report to the Storting No.1 (2004 2005).