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.
The 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 Act states the following:
- The patient must be informed of the time of access to treatment;
- Information must be given on the estimated waiting time, if the patient is referred to a waiting list for treatment
- The patient must be given information about their state of health, the significance of the treatment, alternative forms of treatment and their effects, as well as other matters relating to the treatment that are significant in terms of treatment decisions;
- There must be agreement with the patient on the treatment to be received;
- An under-age patient capable of deciding on the treatment given with respect to his or her age and level of development has a right to deny his or her guardian from gaining access to his or her medical records;
- The patient can file a complaint with the treating institution if the patient is dissatisfied with the treatment or with the behaviour of the medical personnel;
- A decision on a complaint must be given within a reasonable time.
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 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.