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Clients' and patients' rights

The social welfare ombudsman

Social welfare ombudsmen Taija Mehtonen and Laura Helovuo serve the municipalities of Tampere, Kangasala, Lempäälä, Nokia, Orivesi, Pirkkala, Vesilahti, Ylöjärvi, Valkeakoski and Pälkäne.

If the social welfare ombudsman is busy, clients should leave a message by voicemail so that the ombudsman may contact them later.

Social Ombudsman
Tel. 040 800 4186, Monday to Thursday 9 - 11
Tel. 040 800 4187, Monday to Thursday 9 - 11
Postal address P.O. Box 487
33101 Tampere

Appointments should be booked in advance by telephone. Client appointments are handled this way for all municipalities that have agreed on the arrangement of these services via the City of Tampere. The services of the social welfare ombudsman are free of charge.

Services are based on legislation

The Act on the Status and Rights of Social Welfare Clients entered into force at the beginning of 2001. It promotes client-orientation, the client’s right to high-quality social services, and the commitment of both the client and social welfare workers to joint agreements. The client has the right to good treatment without discrimination.

Social welfare service providers must take into account their clients’ wishes, opinions, interests, individual needs, language requirements and cultural background. Social welfare workers must inform the clients of their rights and obligations, as well as of any alternative courses of action possible and their effects on the client’s situation.

Tasks of the social welfare ombudsman

The Act on the Status and Rights of Social Welfare Clients (section 24) defines the tasks of the social welfare ombudsman as follows :

  • To advise clients on issues related to application of the act
  • To help clients to file objections
  • To inform clients of their rights
  • To act otherwise for the promotion and honouring of clients’ rights
  • To monitor the development of clients’ rights and status in the municipality and to issue an annual report thereon to the municipal Executive Board

The social welfare ombudsman is an independent official whose task is to protect the interests of the clients. The social welfare ombudsman informs and co-operates with individual clients, as well as authorities, client organisations and service providers.

When detecting any faults or shortcomings, the social welfare ombudsman will directly inform the municipal Social Welfare Board or the Regional State Administrative Agency so that corrective measures can be taken.

The social welfare ombudsman maintains a client register that cannot be accessed by other authorities and in which personal data will be stored in case handling so requires.

The social welfare ombudsman should be contacted with matters related to social welfare services. This includes both public and private service providers in, for example, the following service sectors:

  • general social work
  • supplementary and preventive social assistance (The basic social assistance is applied for Kela)
  • services for people with intellectual disabilities
  • mental health and substance abuse care
  • services for the disabled
  • children’s custody and visitation rights
  • housing services for the elderly
  • home care facilities
  • child protection
  • social work for families with children
  • caring for close relatives
  • children´s day care

The social services ombudsman is not responsible for advocacy related to the services of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) and job centres, or providers of health care, debt counselling or guardianship services.


The patient ombudsman

The patient ombudsmen Arja Laukka and Taija Mehtonen serve the patients of the health care units run by Tampere, Orivesi, Kangasala and Pälkäne: the patient ombudsman provides information about patients’ rights to, for example, information and on access to treatment.

If a patient is not satisfied with the treatment he or she has received, the patient may also directly contact a doctor or nurse at the place of treatment. If the matter is not resolved or the patient or his or her carer wants further information, the patient ombudsman may be able to help.

The patient ombudsman provides advice and guidance but is not able to change the treatment decisions made. The patient ombudsman cannot act as a patient's legal adviser but can mediate between the patient and health care personnel.

Patient ombudsman
Tel. 050 527 2949, Monday to Thursday 9 - 11
Tel. 040 800 4186, Monday to Thursday 9 - 11
Postal address P.O. Box 487
33101 Tampere

Appointments should be booked in advance by telephone. Client appointments are handled this way for all municipalities that have agreed on the arrangement of these services via the City of Tampere. The services of the social welfare ombudsman are free of charge.

Services

The patient ombudsman serves the patients and their family and close friends in the following health care units run by the City of Tampere:

  • Tays Hatanpää
  • Hatanpää park hospital
  • Rauhaniemi hospital
  • Koukkuniemi care home for the elderly
  • health centres
  • mental health and substance abuse care
  • dental clinics for children and adults
  • maternity and child health clinics
  • school and student health care for educational institutions run by the City of Tampere
  • home care

Clients of private service providers are served if the services they use have been purchased by the City of Tampere. In case of other services, clients are served by the patient ombudsmen of the private service providers themselves. The units of the Pirkanmaa Health Care District, such as Acuta, have their own patient ombudsmen.

The patient (or a family member or a person close to the patient) can contact the patient ombudsman for advice in the following matters:

  • suspected patient injury
  • dissatisfaction with access to treatment
  • dissatisfaction with the treatment or service received
  • making an objection or a complaint
  • matters related to access to information or patient records
  • dissatisfaction with the patient fee
  • claims for compensation of material damage

Services are based on legislation

The Act on the Status and Rights of Patients (785/1992) entered into force in 1993. This act emphasises the patient’s right to good health care and medical treatment, and related treatment, within the limits of the available resources.

The treatment must not violate the patient’s dignity, convictions or privacy. The patient’s first language, culture and personal needs must be taken into consideration wherever possible. The patient has the right to self-determination and information, and he or she also has the right to file an objection if not satisfied with his or her treatment.

The tasks of the patient ombudsman, specified in the Patient Act (section 11), are the following:

  • To advise patients on issues concerning the application of the Patient Act
  • To help patients to prepare and file objections and complaints
  • To inform patients of their rightsTo act otherwise for the promotion and honouring of patients' rights

In addition, the role of the patient ombudsman of the City of Tampere includes taking part in the handling of objections, complaints and patient injury reports. The patient ombudsman also trains staff in issues related to patient status and rights.

The patient ombudsman maintains a client register that cannot be accessed by other authorities and in which personal data will be stored in cases whose handling requires this.