Compensation was paid for 2,300 patient insurances last year – attention must be paid to injuries related to diseases of the back in particular

Press release, 4 February 2016

A total of 8,242 patient injury claims were filed with the Patient Insurance Centre during 2015. The amount of claims received was slightly larger than of the year before (8,077). The Patient Insurance Centre issued a compensation decision on 7,792 cases. The processing time remained at the previous year’s level, the average being slightly over 6 months.

The figures are derived from the last year’s statistics recently released by the Patient Insurance Centre.

Of all patient injury claims filed, 2,300 were deemed eligible for compensation. The figure was at nearly the same level as the year before when 2,400 injuries were decided as being eligible for compensation. As before, the largest portion (92%) of compensable injuries were treatment injuries. Infection injuries accounted for 5% and accidental injuries 2% of the compensated claims.

The most common patient injuries eligible for compensation occurred in hip and knee joint replacement surgeries, in the decompression of the spinal cord and nerve roots and in ankle and foot surgeries.

“Joint replacements are common procedures. Special attention must be paid in health care to patient injuries and other complications that occur in connection with them, as they are on top of injury statistics year after year. Another common group of injuries are cases related to the diseases of the back where delays in diagnostics and access to treatment stand out in addition to postoperative complications. This may be due to too loosely-worded and general instructions pertaining to the lines of treatment,” says Eero Hirvensalo, Medical Director of the Patient Insurance Centre.

Constant patient safety work is to the benefit of all

In 2015, a total of EUR 41.2 million was paid in compensations for patient injuries. Compensation expenditure has increased year-on-year. Compensation for temporary incapacity, cosmetic impairment and permanent incapacity accounted for one third (31%) of the total amount paid. Another third consisted of compensation paid for the loss of income (36%) and the last third of medical treatment and other costs (33%).

“Patient injuries give rise to not only human suffering but also to considerable costs and compensation expenditure every year. For this reason, the significance of patient safety work cannot be over-emphasised,” says Asko Nio, Director of the Patient Insurance Centre.

Of the injuries compensated for, 79% occurred in public sector institutions and 21% in the private sector. This is partly explained by the differences in the amount of operations between sectors.

Additional information:

Statistics 2015 (pdf)

  • Asko Nio, Director, tel. +358 40 450 4614
  • Communication

For hospital districts, we only report aggregated figures. For more detailed information, please contact the hospital districts concerned.

The Finnish Patient Insurance Centre (PVK) handles all personal injuries that occur in conjunction with health care in accordance with the Patient Injuries Act. PVK promotes patient safety by carrying out research, making calculations and compiling statistics. Its members include all insurance companies granting patient insurance policies in Finland. Patients and health-care professionals have been protected by this statutory system since 1987.