Ten years of structural reforms in Danish healthcare

Health Policy. 2012 Jul;106(2):114-9. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2012.03.019. Epub 2012 Apr 21.


A major structural reform of the Danish public sector took place in 2007 when the number of administrative units at the regional and municipal levels was reduced. The larger administrative units allowed for a new hospital structure with a reduced number of acute hospitals covering a population of between 200,000 and 400,000 inhabitants. The restructuring involves creation of acute hospitals with a 24-h acute service by a range of specialists. The idea was to weight quality higher than geographical closeness to the nearest hospital. Concurrently, the pre-hospital service will be expanded. The National Board of Health was given authority to approve regional plans for specialties rather than provide guidelines. The use of private hospitals was increased as a means to fulfil a waiting time guarantee of between 2 and 1 month. Increased use of private insurance also increased use of private hospitals. A new way of financing health care was intended to give municipalities incentives to invest in health prevention and health promotion. Concurrent reforms included economic incentives to increase hospital production as measured by DRGs; quality programmes to secure high quality and patient safety; and electronic patient records and increased use of IT systems.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Denmark
  • Health Care Reform* / organization & administration
  • Health Care Sector / organization & administration
  • Health Policy
  • Hospital Administration
  • Hospitals / supply & distribution
  • Hospitals, Private / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration