What to do if you are unhappy with the care you have received
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If you believe that you have been treated disrespectfully or have not received proper care, you can file a complaint at the clinic itself. Everything from minor problems to neglect that have led to injury can be included. You can also submit a report.

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You are entitled to be treated with respect by all the healthcare professionals you see. You should also receive proper, high-quality care. Caregivers are required to provide the information you need to participate in decisions about your treatment options.

You have the right to file a complaint or report if you feel that you have been treated disrespectfully or received improper care. A good idea is to request a written reply to your complaint so that you can read it at your leisure and avoid any misunderstanding.

Various ways of complaining and reporting

There are a number of options for complaining if you are dissatisfied with the care you have received. You may:

  • complain directly to the doctor or other healthcare professional whom you saw at the clinic
  • get in touch with the Patient Advisory Board or Ombudsman in your region or county
  • file a report with the Health and Social Care Inspectorate​ (IVO)
  • file a report with the Equality Ombudsman (DO)
  • file a report with the Police.

Patient advocacy groups may be able to help you with your report. There is a good chance that they can determine which authority will be most receptive to your complaint and assist in the filing process.

Complaining directly to caregivers

Complaining directly to caregivers

You should seriously consider starting off by contacting the doctor or other caregiver who examined and treated you. You may be pleased to find that misunderstandings and a lack of communication can be quickly cleared up. You can also get in touch with the director of the clinic directly.

If you want to complain about services provided by the municipality, such as home health care, you need to notify the authority’s nurse who has special responsibility for medical care.

Whether a particular kind of care is provided by the region, municipality or county council depends on which part of Sweden you live in. Ask one of the authorities who is responsible in your particular case. A typical arrangement is that the municipality takes charge of basic health care at home, whereas the county council looks after more sophisticated services there.

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The Patient Advisory Board accepts complaints

The Patient Advisory Board accepts complaints

Each region and county is to have a Patient Advisory Board that offers advice and support, listens to your point of view, accepts your complaints and provides information about your rights. You can complain about your having been treated disrespectfully, your diagnosis, your medication, the fees you have been charged, breaches of confidentiality, a failure to honour healthcare guarantees, etc.

The Patient Advisory Board can help you

  • obtain the information you need to file a complaint
  • tell people in charge about your experiences
  • get in touch with healthcare professionals
  • find the right authority to contact

The Patient Advisory Board accepts questions and complaints about

  • dental care offered by regions and county councils
  • private dental providers that have agreements with a region or county council
  • healthcare offered by the municipality or a provider with which it has an agreement
  • general non-medical care to which you are entitled pursuant to the Social Services Act

The Patient Advisory Board is independent of the healthcare system and will help you free of charge.

You may either call or write

You may either call or write to the Patient Advisory Board. The members of their staff accept complaints and conduct inquiries. They also have elected officials who make decisions. Both the staff members and elected officials are under an oath of confidentiality.

The Board cannot determine whether or not caregivers have done anything wrong. Either the director of the clinic or the Health and Social Care Inspectorate​ makes that decision.

Ask the staff of the clinic or visit the website of your region or county council to find out how to contact the Patient Advisory Board.

Patient representatives

Some regions and counties have patient ombudsmen, occasionally referred to as patient representatives or advisors. Get in touch with the patient representative if you believe that you have been treated disrespectfully or are otherwise unhappy with the care you have received. S(he) will offer assistance and refer you to another authority if you are dissatisfied with the response to your complaint by healthcare professionals.

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Health and Social Care Inspectorate (IVO)

Health and Social Care Inspectorate (IVO)

You may file a report with the Health and Social Care Inspectorate​ (IVO) if you have sustained an injury while receiving health care. You may also report inadequate patient safety procedures. Generally speaking, IVO will not look into incidents that happened more than two years ago.

All injuries, as well as incidents that might have led to problems, may be reported regardless of whether the municipality, county council, region or a private provider was responsible. IVO examines not only the actions of individual caregivers but also the background and consequences. IVO makes proposals for what the caregiver should do to prevent a repetition of the incident.

As a result of your report, IVO may criticize a health centre, hospital, dental clinic, assisted living facility or specific healthcare professional. Your report and IVO’s decision are both public documents which are available to anyone.

IVO will conduct a separate inquiry if it concludes that a caregiver is unsuitable for their job. Following the inquiry, IVO may petition HSAN for suspension of the person’s licence to practise.

IVO forwards reports of incidents that may involve criminal conduct to the Police; for example, a caregiver may have been accused of sexual assault or physical abuse.

IVO also examines matters pursuant to Lex Maria. In such cases, the healthcare professional has reported an event that caused serious injury or might have done so. Irregularities at assisted living or other facilities, or the danger that they will occur, are to be reported to IVO pursuant to Lex Sarah.

A licence can be suspended

HSAN determines whether or not a caregiver may retain their licence to practise. While IVO generally files reports with HSAN, the Parliamentary Ombudsmen or Office of the Chancellor of Justice may do so as well.

HSAN can

  • suspend the licence of a doctor or nurse who is guilty of medical malpractice
  • require a trial period of up to three years during which the doctor or nurse must be monitored
  • restrict or suspend a doctor’s right to prescribe medication
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Other ways of complaining

Other ways of complaining

The job of the Equality Ombudsman (DO) is to combat discrimination. You may file a report with the DO if you have been discriminated against on the basis of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ethnic background, disability status, religion or other creed.

You are also free to make your voice heard and complain to public officials who are responsible for the care you have received.

Filing a report with the Police

If you believe that a healthcare professional has committed a sexual assault, physical abuse, negligent homicide or other criminal offence, you may file a report with the Police. Given that highly conclusive evidence is required, such reports rarely lead to prosecution and conviction in Sweden.

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Editor: Ingemar Karlsson Gadea och Helena Vogel, 1177 Vårdguiden


Reviewed by: Pia Aprea, kommunikatör, Patientnämnden Region Skåne