While visiting ULOBA in the field and speaking with Lena Mari Steinfjell Karlsen and Henriette Nielsen (both from ULOBA), ENIL has learned that concrete restrictions are taking place on the use of personal assistance in Trondheim. The Municipality of Trondheim has restricted the use of personal assistance outside of Norway. A user must first ask permission in order to leave the country with a personal assistant. The threat was firstly that a person would not be able to leave the municipality with personal assistance. This restriction was in regard to the whole of Norway but there has been a turn at the national level on this. There seems to be a change on the part of the municipality of Trondheim that shorter trips will be accepted without having to ask for permission, but this is not in writing as of yet.
The reason behind this decision seems to be that the municipality is worried about the personal assistants and their rights when not protected by Norwegian work law. The Health Minister underlines that the Norwegian government and municipalities are not responsible for healthcare outside boarders and it will be up to the municipality themselves to determine coverage.
Henriette is finishing her studies in engineering this June and finds this development difficult. She will want to go to conferences when she continues her studies to present papers and to participate in other ways but may have to ask each time. No last minute planning!
The UN CRPD assures that we disabled people are granted our rights and allows us to live as other citizens. Norway has granted access to personal assistance during the last twenty years allowing personal assistant user’s to live as others but now by restricting the use of personal assistance by requiring a permission to travel abroad is not promoting life on equal terms. Other people can travel without permission. Other people can make last minute decisions to travel!
Articles in Norwegian on this subject: