The Finnish Patient Insurance Centre will decide whether a patient has sustained a compensable bodily injury in connection with medical treatment and health care on the basis of the Patient Injuries Act. The Finnish Patient Insurance Centre is an insurance institution and solely handles insurance matters.
This section includes information on the further legal protection of patients and the tasks of certain authorities. You will find more in-depth information and useful brochures from each authority. Links to the websites of relevant authorities can be found here.
Patients' rights in Finland are protected by several laws, the most significant of which is the Act on the Status and Rights of Patients. This law regulates, for example, the patient's right to information, right to self-determination, and the maintenance of patient records.
According to law,
Possible violations of the Act on the Status and Rights of Patients are not handled by the Patient Insurance Centre. However, they may be indirectly significant when assessing whether or not the treatment provided was appropriate according to the Patient Injuries Act. This relates mainly to how the patient was informed of the risks involved with the treatment in question.
Healthcare providers must have a Patient Ombudsman who can give information on patients' rights and assist the patient in filing a complaint, an appeal or a claim for compensation The Patient Ombudsman is not an employee of the Finnish Patient Insurance Centre or its representative.
The contact details of the Patient Ombudsman are available from the healthcare provider where you were treated. Social workers of healthcare providers will also provide information on patience insurance.
In general, patients have the right to check the entries made in patient records and the right to demand that any erroneous information is rectified. If there are errors in your medical file that require rectification, please contact the healthcare provider where your file was compiled. This matter is not processed through the Finnish Patient Insurance Centre.
If you are dissatisfied with the way you have been treated by medical personnel, you may lodge a complaint with the healthcare provider or the supervising authorities. If necessary, the Patient Ombudsman will advise you on queries concerning the status and rights of patients. The Finnish Patient Insurance Centre cannot help or pay compensation in these matters.
The purpose of a complaint is to give the patient an easy way of presenting his or her views to the healthcare provider. At the same time, the healthcare provider is given an opportunity to rectify the situation. If you are dissatisfied with the actions of a member of the healthcare personnel or the way you have been treated, it is advisable that you first contact the head of the healthcare provider where the person, whose actions have caused dissatisfaction, is employed. The filing of a complaint does not affect the patient's right to file a complaint to the supervising authorities concerning his or her medical treatment.
Making a complaint to the supervising authorities may result in, for example, directing a healthcare professional to pay attention to an inadequacy, or an issue of an admonition or warning. The supervising authorities cannot revoke any decision concerning the patient's treatment, nor can they award compensation.
The consequences of a complaint depend on the competence of each authority and on the facts that the investigation reveals. If you are thinking of filing a complaint, familiarise yourself with the information and forms made available by the authorities.
Regional State Administrative Agencies and the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira)
Complaints made against healthcare professionals are handled regionally by Regional State Administrative Agencies and by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira). The tasks of the Regional State Administrative Agencies and Valvira are partly parallel with regard to complaints.
Parliamentary Ombudsman or Chancellor of Justice
The Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Chancellor of Justice also deal with complaints and supervise authorities and officials, such as general practitioners in the public sector, to ensure the legality of procedures and compliance with responsibilities.
Data Protection Ombudsman
Patients usually have the right to check their own patient records. If this right or the right to rectify entries have been denied on the basis of the Personal Data Act (Henkilötietolaki 523/1999), the patient may refer the case to the Data Protection Ombudsman.
Consumer Ombudsman and Consumer Agency
The Consumer Ombudsman supervises marketing directed at consumers, the quoting of prices for services in marketing, and the reasonableness of terms of agreement in general.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for the general planning, directing, and supervising of social and health care. The Ministry drafts legislation concerning health care and issues general rules and regulations relating to the activities of health care professionals.
The Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea
The Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea's main duties include authorisation and supervision tasks in the pharmaceuticals sector, research and development, and production and dissemination of information on medicinal products with a view to improving the effectiveness of pharmaceutical services and pharmacotherapy. Fimea regulates pharmaceuticals and blood and tissue products and contributes to the development of the pharmaceuticals sector. Fimea gathers information from health care services on any harmful effects and dangerous situations that have been caused to patients by medicines.
Tort Liability Act (Vahingonkorvauslaki 412/1974) and Product Liability Act (Tuotevastuulaki 694/1990)
A patient may have a right for compensation for injuries from the health care provider and, in the case of products such as prostheses, from the manufacturer or importer. The laws mainly referred to in cases of compensation for damages are the Tort Liability Act and Product Liability Act. It is the patient's own responsibility to investigate these options. In practice these situations are very rare. Claims for material damage caused in connection with medical treatment, such as torn clothing, damage to or loss of a removable prosthesis or eyeglasses) may be filed against the party causing the damage.
Consumer Protection Act (Kuluttajansuojalaki 38/1978) and the Consumer Disputes Board
The Consumer Protection Act is applied to errors in goods and services. It is only applied to cases where an agreement has been made between a business and consumer. The Consumer Protection Act is not usually applied to public health care. Customers may, for example, have the right to cancel the purchase of eyeglasses owing to a defect. More information on consumer protection is available on the websites of the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority and the Consumer Disputes Board.
Patients may have the right to compensation for material damage under their own home insurance or under the liability insurance of the carer. For bodily injuries, you may receive compensation from your own accident insurance, sickness insurance or from the carer's liability insurance. As for patient injuries relating to treatment given for a road traffic injury or an accidental injury, you may receive compensation under motor liability insurance or occupational accident insurance. For advice on insurance matters, you may contact the Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau.
The Finnish Patient Insurance Centre is not an official authority but it carries out a public administrative duty bestowed upon it by law; the statutory patient insurance. Anyone can file an administrative complaint about the unlawful conduct or failure to fulfil an obligation of a body carrying out a public administrative duty to the authority controlling these operations.
The legality of the Finnish Patient Insurance Centre's operations is monitored by the Financial Supervisory Authority and the supreme legality supervisors, the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Chancellor of Justice.
However, the supervising authorities may not change or overturn a decision or comment of compensation paid, they can only make statements on the operations of the centre and the legality of procedures. Consequently, you should not file an administrative complaint when you are dissatisfied with a compensation decision. Change to a compensation decision can be sought with a request for revision.
More information about the operations of the supervising authorities and filing a complaint is available at the websites of the Financial Supervisory Authority, the Chancellor of Justice, and the Parliamentary Ombudsman.