If a patient or next of kin is unsatisfied with the patient’s medical care or treatment, she/he can complain to authorities responsible for health care supervision in Finland. This procedure is available to all health care or medical care patients in Finland regardless of the patient’s citizenship.
Important note: official decisions on appeals are given only in Finnish or Swedish, although in some cases unofficial translations may be available.
Before filing a complaint, please consider other and usually faster ways of settling the difference.
Try to clear the issue already at the health care unit
An honest discussion between the patient and the health professional or his/her supervisor can usually clear possible misunderstandings between the patient and those treating him/her. Errors or shortcomings in the treatment can also be corrected at once.
Consider submitting an objection
If the discussion proves unsatisfactory the patient or next of kin may submit an objection to executive of the health care unit, hospital or such. Submitting an objection is a legal procedure that binds the executive to clear the matter with his/her employees and to respond to the complainant within a reasonable time, usually in one month.
How to file a complaint
To file a complaint on health care write a freeform statement or use Valvira’s official form (pdf). Complaining is possible even when you have submitted an objection to the health care unit or have filed a claim to the Finnish Patient Insurance Centre following a suspected patient injury.
Usually a complaint will not be processed if the reason for complaining became evident more than two years ago.
File your complaint to regional administration or Valvira
Valvira is responsible for handling complaints that relate to treatment of a severely and permanently injured patient or a patient who died after a suspected medical error or medical malpractice.
Regional State Administrative Agencies process all other complaints. Choose the agency according to where you were treated.
If necessary, officials may transfer the complaint to the correct authority according to agreed distribution of duties. The complainant will receive a notification of the transfer.
Patient Ombudsman attends to patients’ interests
Every health care unit must name a patient ombudsman whose duty is to inform the patient of his/her rights and to advance patients’ interests in general.
The patient ombudsman can help you to:
clear your matters at the health care unit treating you
report an injury due to a medical error or medical malpractice
submit an objection
file a complaint
The patient ombudsman does not intervene with the patient’s diagnosis or content of treatment.
The patient ombudsman’s contact information can be requested from the health care unit or retrieved from the unit’s website.