Finland plans to end patient confidentiality in criminal probes

EPA/MAURI RATILAIN

Koskela Hospital in Helsinki, Finland.

Finland plans to end patient confidentiality in criminal probes


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Finland’s Interior Ministry is drafting a law that would allow the police access to patient data during investigations, a move that would signal a major change in the Nordic country’s patient confidentiality laws.

The ministry wants to give doctors the authority to pass on patient information to law enforcement officials if the data could potentially prevent a serious crime.

Finland’s doctors, however, are afraid that the law may change the way potential mental health patients view their treatments as they may be discouraged from seeking care. Other physicians have also echoed the same concerns, saying it will undermine the time-honoured tradition of doctor-patient confidentiality.

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