This paper gives an account of the ways of thinking that are prevalent in the discussion about matters of priority in the Norwegian health service. Additional focus has been given to some particular factors concerning prioritisation of health services in relation to the elderly. The setting is that in any modern health service it becomes nescessary to prioritise between the different services one wishes the health service to provide. This is due to the limited resources available to society. Furthermore, it appears that services to the elderly receives lower priority in the modern Norwegian health service. This paper includes documentation that this is the case, and also suggests that the challenges will grow in the future as the number of elderly will increase sharply in the coming years.
Finally, you will find a discussion concerning prioritisation in relation to the elderly in the health service. In this discussion I argue that in the modern health service there is a form of discrimination against patients in this age group. I suggest that this discrimination occurs at the managerial and administrative level, but many times also between the patient and the person responsible for treatment. Furthermore, I argue that the criteria used in the process of prioritisation in Norway is inadequate when faced with complex patient groups. I suggest that matters of efficiency is given too much weight, and I call for increased focus on ethical argumentation and interpersonal relations in the process of prioritisation.