So says the law on health care. Healthcare includes all types of healthcare, medical, nursing, general and specialized hospital services, ambulances, assistive devices and services of healthcare professionals inside and outside healthcare institutions provided in order to promote health, prevent, diagnose or treat diseases and rehabilitate patients.
The Ministry of Welfare is in charge of health affairs and the
Minister of Health sets a policy on health services within the framework of the above-mentioned law. The Minister is authorized to take the necessary measures to implement that policy, including with regard to the organization of health services, the prioritization of tasks within it, the efficiency, quality and safety of the service and access to it.
The Medical Director of Health advises the Minister and other authorities, health professionals and the general public on health matters and handles the implementation of certain issues on behalf of the Minister in accordance with the laws, rules and customs that apply to his office. He supervises the activities of institutions and the work of the health professions.
The health service provides all health services. There, the public can access various services in the field of family medicine, nursing, emergency services, health protection and prevention and receive advice and guidance.
Hospitals receive sick people for care and provide medical care, nursing and other services as needed. According to the current law on health services, hospitals are divided into the following categories according to type and service:
- District Hospital. Hospitals alone or in collaboration with others provide general hospital services in both outpatient and day wards. Most often there are also nursing rooms. It provides maternity assistance if there is expertise in it and other services that have been agreed upon.
- Specialized hospitals. Landspítali and Sjúkrahúsið á Akureyri provide specialized hospital services.
Health care professionals’ offices. It provides a variety of specialist services in the field of health professionals, either by one specialist or several who run offices together.
Nursing home. Homes for the elderly and patients who, due to health problems, are unable to live at home with available assistance and have been assessed as in need of accommodation, cf. law on the issues of the elderly.
Rehabilitation institutions . Institutions for patients who have been diagnosed but need rehabilitation for a longer or shorter period of time.
Drug treatment institutions. Institutions for patients in need of treatment for drug addiction and under the Ministry of Welfare.