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The week and the silent - Is human dignity being resrected in the health care ?

Health care legislation does not justify departure from equal treatment

"Are human dignity and equality being realised in health care," wondered Ombudsman Riitta-Leena Paunio at the 10th anniversary jubilee seminar arranged by the National Advisory Board on Health Care Ethics (ETENE) on Wednesday 8.10.2008.

Legislation on health care does not contain provisions that would justify departing from the principles of the Constitution, according to which all people must be treated equally irrespective of their origin, age, state of health or disability. Yet there are differences, both from one municipality to another and depending on the illness in question as well as with respect to whether the person in need of help is a child, young, old or, for example, intoxicated in the way in which health services are provided. "In order for all to be guaranteed equal and adequate health services, the right to treatment must be enshrined in law and the scope of services and the quality standards according to which they are to be implemented must be defined," emphasises the Ombudsman.