Supervision of healthcare

In Finland, healthcare operations are supervised by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) and Regional State Administrative Agencies. The pharmaceutical sector´s supervisory authority is Fimea. In addition, healthcare organisations have the obligation to supervise their operations themselves.


Valvira guides and supervises healthcare professionals and the operations of medical facilities both in the public and private sector. The task of Valvira is to

  • maintain the register of healthcare professionals
  • investigate a complaint when it is suspected that a medical error or malpractice has contributed to the death or severe injury. In any other case, a complaint is investigated by a Regional State Administrative Agency.
  • monitor fulfilment of time limits under the care guarantee.

Valvira grants the following licences:

  • Rights to practice for healthcare professionals
  • Licences to provide private healthcare services in the case of operations in the area of more than one Regional State Administrative Agency. In any other case, a licence is granted by a Regional State Administrative Agency.
  • Tissue licences (human organs, medical use of tissues and cells)
  • permits for termination of pregnancy and sterilisation in certain cases.

Regional State Administrative Agencies guide and supervise both public and private healthcare service providers in the municipalities

Regional State Administrative Agencies license healthcare operators when there are operations in the area of only one municipality or one Regional State Administrative Agency. It deals with complaints, rectification and appeal matters and advises clients if a client considers that there are serious deficiencies in the services or in their quality.

Healthcare employers must supervise own operations

Healthcare employers have primary responsibility for supervise their operations. Employers must supervise, for example, employees, facilities and equipment. Public healthcare units must have a plan for quality management and patient safety.

The operations of public healthcare are also supervised by the audit committees of the municipalities and joint municipal authorities. Their task is to assess the fulfilment of the economic and operational objectives of the municipality or local authority corporation. The audit committee reports its observations to the council of the joint municipal authority for a hospital district.

Private healthcare companies must be licensed and have a self-supervision plan

Private healthcare companies must have licence for their operations. The licence is granted by the Regional State Administrative Agency in whose area the company operates. If a company operates in more than one Regional State Administrative Agency, the licence is granted by Valvira.

Private healthcare service providers must also have a self-supervision plan. The plan shall describe, among other things, the company´s business idea as well as matters relating to staff competence, facilities and patient safety. The service provider must have a manager approved by the licensing authority, who is responsible for health services and for ensuring that the operations meet the requirements pursuant to law.

Fimea supervises the pharmaceutical sector

The Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea regulates medicinal, blood and tissue products, and develops the pharmaceutical sector in Finland. The agency´s tasks include licensing and regulatory duties, research and development, and produces and provides information on medicines. Among other duties, Fimea grants licences to pharmacies and monitors adverse effects of medicines.