Organised Interests, Authority Structures and Political Influence: Danish and Norwegian Patient Groups Compared


Hilmar Rommetvedt, International Research Institute of Stavanger (IRIS), PO Box 8046, N-4068 Stavanger, Norway. E-mail:


The article presents a comparative analysis of the strategies applied by Danish and Norwegian patient organisations and organisations for disabled persons in order to promote the interests of their members. Three research questions are addressed: Are Danish and Norwegian patient organisations service organisations operating according to a ‘logic of membership’ or political pressure groups acting according to a ‘logic of influence’? Do patient organisations apply ‘insider’ or ‘outsider’ strategies in their efforts to influence healthcare policies? What impact do different authority structures have on the patient organisations' influencing strategies? The latter question is related to recent reforms in the public healthcare systems of the two countries. The major responsibility for public hospitals now rests with regional authorities in Denmark and central government in Norway. The study is based on a survey among nationwide patient organisations in the two countries and shows that most patient groups are ‘polyvalent’‘venue shoppers’ combining a variety of influencing strategies.