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No-Harm Center given names in Finland’s national languages

Parliamentary Ombudsman Petri Jääskeläinen has given his opinion on the appropriateness of the choice of name for a centre that acts as a national cooperation network in the field of patient safety in connection with Vaasa Central Hospital. The centre was originally named the No-Harm Center.  

The Ombudsman has previously expressed the view that using only an English name (“Stroke Unit”) for a monolingual health care unit was an example of bad administrative practice and in breach of the regulations concerning linguistic rights (ref. 4032/4/08). The main difference between this case and the No-Harm Center is that the Center does not offer services directly to citizens visiting it. However, it does provide a public service by publishing information related to patient safety. As such, this case does not solely concern internal activities. For this reason, the Ombudsman’s conclusions in the Stroke Unit case also apply in principle to the name, No-Harm Center.

The name of the centre has since been translated into both of the national languages of Finland (Potilas- ja asiakasturvallisuuden kehittämiskeskus, Utvecklingscentret för klient- och patientsäkerhet). The centre intends to use both national languages of Finland in its outward activities, first and foremost in its communications.

The Ombudsman considered these actions by the Vaasa Central Hospital to be appropriate and in line with the principles of his prior Stroke Unit decision. No further action by the Ombudsman was thus necessary in this case.

Parliamentary Ombudsman Petri Jääskeläinen’s decision 5003/2019 is available in full in Finnish on the Ombudsman’s website www.oikeusasiamies.fi.

For more information, please contact Principal Legal Adviser Mikko Sarja, tel. + 358 9 432 3364.