Jyväskylä and Turku rebuked
In Ombudsman Jääskeläinens view, the City of Jyväskylä acted inappropriately when it did not provide patients, relatives and staff with timely information about the closure of the Vuoristosairaala Hospital and the associated rearrangement of care. Accordingly, they did not have the genuine opportunity to influence decision making that the law requires them to have.
The Citys Basic Welfare Board decided in October 2010 to close down the hospital following an accelerated timetable. A briefing event concerning the matter was held two days before the meeting of the Board, but some of the relatives found out about this only the previous day. Some of the relatives found out about the closure only from the media.
Sixty patients suffering from memory impairment were being treated at the hospital. As recently as May, it had been noted in the minutes of the Board that the long-term wards in the hospital would continue until further notice.
The Ombudsman takes the view that the changes that took place in the arrangement of treatment were of great importance for the residents and their relatives. They must have a real and not just a formal opportunity to influence the decision.
Additional info will be provided by Legal Adviser Håkan Stoor, tel. + 358 (0)9 432 3366.
Several errors in City of Turkus actions
Deputy-Ombudsman Sakslin had already earlier admonished the City of Turkus social welfare department for the flawed way in which it had closed down the Luolavuori home for the elderly and acted in transferring its residents to new homes.
The closure decision affected nearly 160 old people in very poor health, who were transferred from the home to other long-term institutions in various parts of the city.
The municipality neglected to provide information about the plan to the old people and their relatives at a sufficiently early stage. They were informed about the matter only after the meeting of the Basic Welfare Board at which the decision was made. In the assessment of Deputy-Ombudsman Sakslin, an action of this kind violates old peoples human dignity if they or a relative are not able to have an input into decision making.
The municipality acted unlawfully also insofar as not all of the old people received written, appealable decisions on a new home and new client fees.
Deputy-Ombudsman Sakslin asked the Regional State Administrative Agency to examine the situation of every old person who had been transferred from the home and to exercise oversight to ensure that shortcomings were redressed.
Additional info will be provided by Senior Legal Adviser Tapio Räty, tel. + 358(0)9 4321.