It is important to note that these recent statistics do not provide the most recent data on patient injuries, as individuals have up to three years to file a report. Thus, the injuries repaired in 2023 may have occurred several years earlier.
It takes several months to process one claim. When the patient has filed the report, the Patient Insurance Center collects the necessary documents and requests an expert opinion. Interestingly, just over 7 percent of the cases settled at the beginning of 2023 were actually filed that year.
“We have been actively working to reduce the time it takes to resolve injuries and this is reflected in the number of decisions made at the beginning of this year,” explained. Minna Plit-Turunen, Director of the Patient Insurance Center. “At the beginning of 2023, we performed 5,380 determinations, which is more than a thousand more than the previous year’s 4,191.”
About a quarter of injury reports result in compensation
Compensation for patient injuries is regulated by legal guidelines. During the beginning of the year, a total of 1,251 patient injuries were compensated. About one in four (24.3%) of the resolved cases were found to comply with the statutory compensation criteria. Among plaintiffs, 28% received a favorable decision in at least one of the cases they reported.
In cases where reimbursement was denied, the most common reasons included the belief that the reported adverse event was not the result of the treatment given, or that the treatment, although appropriate, could not have prevented the outcome.
“Patients or healthcare professionals do not have to decide whether a patient’s injury is compensable. Experts from the Patient Insurance Center make this decision based on statutory criteria. Patient injuries do not cover mental suffering, perceived mistreatment or cases where the patient does not recover despite appropriate treatment,” Plit-Turunen explained.
More than 90% (94%) of compensated injuries were classified as treatment-related injuries. In these cases, the criterion is that a qualified healthcare professional would have acted differently in the situation and thus prevented the injury.
“It is important to recognize that there are always inherent risks in health care. Errors and injuries can happen to anyone, even the most experienced and skilled professionals. However, we can and should learn from these cases. Open, non-blaming and systematic handling Patient accidents should be part of every unit quality and patient safety work, in order to avoid avoidable errors in the future”, emphasized Plit-Turunen.
The significant impact of compensation on society
During the beginning of the year, a total of 13.7 million euros were paid in damages, of which the total costs of the patient insurance system were 21.2 million euros. Naturally, the costs to society and the effects on the injured are much greater. The largest single compensation category in January-June 2023 was loss of earnings, which was 45% of the total amount.
The Patient Insurance Center’s interim report 1/2023 contains patient accident statistics from January to June 2023. The 2023 report will be published in its entirety at the beginning of 2024.
Source: The Nordic Page