The number of patient injury claims has increased during the past few years

Press release, 13 February 2017

A total of 8,834 patient injury claims were filed with the Patient Insurance Centre, an increase of 5% on the previous year. Compensation was paid in a little less than one third of the cases. Hip and knee joint replacement surgeries are still on top of injury statistics.

The number of injury claims has increased during the past few years. In 2016, the increase was somewhat more noticeable than in the previous years. A total of 7,537 reported cases were resolved. Compensations were paid in 2,166 cases.

Compensations were most frequently paid for injuries that occurred in connection with musculoskeletal surgical procedures (469) and other surgical or anaesthesia procedures (466). The injuries most frequently compensated for were those that occurred in hip and knee joint replacement surgeries, which have topped the injury statistics for several years. A total of 300 injuries that occurred in connection with dental care were compensated for. These injuries usually occurred when root canal treatment was administered.

The processing time of injury claims has slightly increased. Last year, the average processing time was 7.5 months and the median processing time 6.8 months.

"Our aim is to process the claims as quickly as possible. However, this may not occur at the expense of quality; lawful and just treatment must be secured for each claimant. We are gradually adopting electronic services. We hope that they will not only make filing one's case easier for everyone but, in due course, also shorten the processing times," says Unit Director Minna Plit-Turunen.

The Patient Insurance Centre handles all patient injury claims filed in Finland on a centralised basis. The statutory patient insurance system safeguards the rights of the patient and health care professionals in the event of a patient injury. Compensation will not be paid for all injuries that occur during treatment; compensation can only be paid if the preconditions prescribed by law are met.

The majority of negative claims decisions are due to the fact that the injury could not be avoided despite appropriate treatment. An infection that started in connection with the treatment, for example, will not be compensated for if the infection is regarded as 'tolerable' on grounds prescribed by law. Furthermore, the injury is not always eligible for compensation, even if errors or shortcomings can be found in the treatment.

In 2016, the compensations paid totalled EUR 40.9 million, including the management expenses of compensation operations. The majority of the compensations paid consisted of compensations for loss of income (39.1%). Additionally, compensation was paid for permanent or temporary incapacity and for cosmetic impairment (29.1%), medical treatment and rehabilitation, funeral expenses, increased costs of living and other expenses.

Additional information

Minna Plit-Turunen, Unit Manager, tel. +358 40 450 4632
Communications, tel. +358 40 450 4700

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 connection with healthcare activities 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. The statutory system has safeguarded the rights of patients and nursing staff since 1987.