The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for guiding the development of maternity and child health clinics. Municipalities are in charge of the practical arrangement of services.
Maternity clinics provide family support, with attention to relationships and parenting. Special emphasis is placed on the role of fathers and parental responsibility. Expectant mothers normally meet with a nurse and doctor 11-15 times during pregnancy. Attending a maternity clinic is one of the preconditions for eligibility for maternity benefit.
In addition, parents take part in family and childbirth preparation sessions. Visits monitor the progress of the pregnancy and arrange for mothers to receive follow-up treatment in the event of problems. Mothers are offered screening for foetal chromosome and growth defects during pregnancy.
Child health clinics assess the physical, mental and social condition of children under school age, provide vaccinations and support parents in providing secure, child-focused rearing, care and in attending to relationships. The clinics also promote healthy growing environments for children and healthy family lifestyles.
Support is provided by home visits by a public health nurse before and after the birth of a child, and at other times if needed, plus by parents' groups.
Child health clinics try to identify problems affecting families with small children at an early stage and to arrange for appropriate help. The clinics carry out multi-professional collaboration with other professionals working with young families.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health does not handle complaints or appeals.
If you are not satisfied with the service, care or treatment
that you receive, you may
- make a complaint to the person in charge of the clinic. Before you make a complaint, however, you should provide direct feedback and try to resolve the matter with the staff who dealt with you.
- make an official complaint to the supervisory authority: to the Regional State Administrative Agency in your area, or to the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira).
If you feel that you have been badly treated or that you need advice regarding your rights, you can get in touch with the patient ombudsman for your municipality or joint municipal authority.
You can apply to the Finnish Patient Insurance Centre to receive compensation in the event of patient injury.