The status and rights of clients and patients
The status and rights of patients and social welfare clients are protected by:
- the Act on the Status and Rights of Patients 785/1992 (Finlex)
- the Act on the Status and Rights of Social Welfare Clients 812/2000 (Finlex, in Finnish and Swedish)
These Acts define the legal principles under which patients and social welfare clients must be treated.
Patients and social welfare clients have the right to receive appropriate and high-quality healthcare and social welfare services. Options for treatment or procedures must be explained in a way that is open and understandable.
Patients and social welfare clients must be treated in a manner that does not violate their human dignity, convictions or privacy.
Those requiring help have the right to access healthcare and social welfare services within the period of time laid down by law.
Healthcare and social welfare documents and the information that they contain must be kept secret. Patients and social welfare clients have the right to know how their information is being used.
Complaints or legal protection of patients and social welfare clients
If a patient or social welfare client is not satisfied with the service, care or treatment that they have received, they can
- contact the patient ombudsperson or social services ombudsperson
- submit an objection to the person in charge of the unit or a senior officeholder in the unit, or
- file a complaint with the supervisory authority, primarily with the Regional State Administrative Agency in their region or the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira).
Social welfare clients may also appeal against the decision they have received. Clients may request an administrative review of a decision made by a social welfare official. The request is lodged with the competent authority of the wellbeing services county, and a request for a judicial review of a decision taken by the competent authority may be lodged with the Administrative Court.
Compensation for patient injury can be claimed from the Finnish Patient Insurance Centre.
As the supreme overseers of legality, the Parliamentary Ombudsman and the Chancellor of Justice may also handle complaints concerning healthcare and social welfare.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health and the Regional State Administrative Agencies are not appellate authorities and therefore they cannot change the decisions made in healthcare and social welfare.
Patient ombudsperson and social services ombudsperson
If clients feel that they have been mistreated by healthcare or social welfare services or need advice on their rights, they can consult the patient ombudsperson or social services ombudsperson.
Jaska Siikavirta, Deputy Director General
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Clients and Services in Healthcare and Social Welfare / APO, Clients and Personnel Unit / ASI Telephone:0295163394