Based on the audit, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and its subordinate administration have not managed to steer patient and client safety in a long-term and consistent manner. Strategic steering should be systematic, and the implementation of national targets should be ensured through systematic monitoring.
The national steering of patient and client safety aims to ensure that health and social services are safe and effective. The audit targeted at patient and client safety work examined how the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and its subordinate administration have managed, steered and monitored patient safety in healthcare and client safety in social welfare and supported the service providers and organizers during the past ten years.
According to the audit, there have been interruptions and slowness in the steering of patient and client safety. The responsibilities of different authorities overlap. Many of the key national targets for patient and client safety have not been met. The steering should be systematic, and the steering of central government and its coordination should be developed to promote consistency.
The laws and regulations governing patient and client safety do not form a clear entity. In addition to laws and regulations, patient and client safety has been steered by various guidelines. The legislation related to patient and client safety and self-monitoring should be unified. Harmonized legislation would also contribute to the implementation of consistent information steering.
National patient and client safety strategies underline the importance of monitoring. Statistics and registers should provide indicator data reflecting the quality and safety of services. Based on the audit, national data on patient and client safety is fragmented and incomplete. The key indicators have not been defined. No nationally uniform picture is available of incidents, deviations and risks. On the other hand, there is a lot happening at the moment in the development of information related to patient and client safety. The development of national information must be continued.
There are no accurate figures showing the economic significance of errors, deviations and negligence in health and social services. The OECD estimates that around 15% of healthcare costs are spent on correcting medical malpractices and injuries caused by them.