Friday, 30 July 2010

Getting a Fastlege (Family Doctor) in Norway

Health is important anywhere and anytime. I only found out recently that I was entitled to registering and getting a fastlege (family doctor) in Norway after I get my D-number. 

Which means that a few months ago, I had suffered a bout of bad flu for 3 weeks in vain. I could have gone to see a doctor and get some medical advice. And stop paying for that expensive international medical insurance!!!

Having a fastlege is useful because:
  • You get subsidised rates for a medical consultation with your personal doctor
  • Medical prescriptions, referrals are cheaper and affordable
  • Going to the emergency room as a backup option sounds like you got into some deep trouble with your car crash, instead of just having a routine checkup.
For more information, refer to this NTNU university's website, I found it useful.
And perhaps while looking on the internet for info on Norway, you might find this, one of my favourite sites on Norway useful.

Two ways to get a fastlege after you have your D-number in hand:
1. Go to to choose the nearest clinic/doctor to your residence
2. Call fastlege hotline: 810 59 500

The problem with using the first method for foreigners and newly-initiated Norwegian residents, is that you need your MinID number ready, and that means registering again with some other government entity, then waiting a few days while your nose drips bucketfuls and you feel like dying.

The second method is fast and easy. All hotlines have queues in the summer as the lines are open for shorter hours - as little as two hours per day. Imagine all the throngs of sick people calling in.

Well, at least the service personnel is friendly and provides useful information - but always have a backup Norwegian friend or fiance ready by your side. Not all service personnel are willing or can speak English to you. I've tried a few times to ask in Norsk to please converse in English and sometimes I get the feeling I have spoken the question too fluently....

"Vær så snill, kan du snakker på Engelsk?" (Be so kind, will you speak in English?)
"Prøv Norsk." (Try Norwegian.)

I've tried once... but the locals really speak fast. My brain works like a snail when listening to Norwegian.

"Vær så snill, kan du snakker saktere/ langsomere?" (Please, will you speak slower?)
"Hun......barna...... morsomt..... etc etc" (The dame rambles on in the same speed as before)


That's when I dashed into my forlovedes (fiance's) room and grab him in the middle of his phone conversation to speak to the dame (lady). I had to. I only had 15 minutes before the hotline closes for the rest of the day.

Oh yeah, and be prepared to listen to the dial tone for at least 10 minutes while this message plays every minute or two:

"Det er fortsatt store pågang, vennligst vent på svar." 
(It is still a big influx (of callers), kindly wait for an answer)

So remember, always arm yourself with a pen, paper and Norwegian at hand for making phone calls or else you'd make a big embarrassment of yourself over the phone, then beat yourself up for not learning Norwegian fast enough.

Questions? Email me and I'll try to help.

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