Client and patient safety


The safety of care and services is part of the overall quality of healthcare and social welfare.

Safe care and services are evidence-based and effective. They are provided in the right way and at the right time. 

Client and patient safety refers to the principles and practices of people and organisations operating in healthcare and social welfare to 

  • ensure the safety of care and services and
  • protect clients and patients from harm.

Safety also entails ensuring the safe and appropriate use of facilities, devices, information systems, supplies and medicines and the effective flow of information.

The purpose of client and patient safety work is to promote safety in all healthcare and social welfare activities. Measures promoting safety must be measurable and based on evidence. They should prevent systemic errors and support the opportunities of professionals to work to a high quality standard.

Legislation on client and patient safety

Provisions on client and patient safety are contained in a number of acts.

In addition, separate provisions on patient safety and quality management are laid down by decree of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. 

Client and Patient Safety Strategy provides guidance on consistent activities

The Client and Patient Strategy guides Finnish healthcare and social welfare in adopting a uniform safety culture and promotes its implementation.

The most recent Strategy and its Implementation Plan were published on 24 February 2022. The vision of the Strategy is that Finland will be a model country for client and patient safety in 2026 — we will prevent avoidable harm.

Finnish Centre for Client and Patient Safety is responsible for coordinating and developing activities

The Finnish Centre for Client and Patient Safety, located in Vaasa, coordinates the planning and development of client and patient safety at the national level. This task is laid down in the decree on the centralisation of certain tasks within specialised healthcare. 

The Centre provides recommendations, operating models and new tools for both professionals and clients. The Centre has been awarded discretionary government grant for this purpose. 

A steering group appointed by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health guides, monitors and evaluates the activities of the Centre.

International client and patient safety work

The World Health Organization (WHO) has published a Global Patient Safety Action Plan for 2021–2030.

World Patient Safety Day is celebrated every year on 17 September. In Finland, the day is called Client and Patient Safety Day.

Further information