Protection of patients' rights

If you doubt your doctor's decision, you have the right to a second opinion under the Health Insurance Act. You can request another doctor’s opinion if you have any doubts about the diagnosis, the correctness of a medicine prescribed, the need for a service, the available alternatives, the risks and the effects.

The exact procedure for requesting a second opinion and to what extent the EHIF pays for it is provided in the Health Insurance Act.

Below is an overview of institutions you can contact if you are not satisfied or have any concerns. This list is random and does not indicate the order of whom we recommend contacting first – depending on the problem, you may turn to one or several authorities:

  • Healthcare provider – If you feel that you did not receive the healthcare service you would have expected or needed, you could contact the management of the healthcare facility first. Instructions for providing feedback can be found on the websites of most Estonian hospitals. Generally, claims are always expected in writing so that all circumstances are accurately mapped.

  • terviseamet.ee/et text: The Health Board) exercises state supervision over health care providers and you can contact them if you have any complaints about the general conditions or quality of treatment of a medical institution. On the basis of a complaint received, the Health Board can, if necessary, initiate a supervision procedure and, if its results become clear, make proposals and precepts to the medical institution on how to improve the organization of work or general conditions.

  • The Estonian Health Insurance Fund is worth contacting if there are complaints about waiting times, quality of treatment as well as paid services or medical bills submitted to the Health Insurance Fund on your behalf (you can view them in the patient portal. The EHIF monitors its contractual partners' compliance with legislation and terms of agreements. It must be borne in mind that the EHIF can handle your case only if the other party is their contractual partner. Read more about complaints. You can also ask for advice on the EHIF’s help line at 6696630.

  • The expert committee on the quality of health services should be consulted if you have serious complaints about the appropriateness of the treatment received, the doctor's decision, the substantive quality or safety. The expert panel that involves various health care areas operates under the Ministry of Social Affairs. The committee has an advisory role and can analyse a specific case and make an assessment on the basis of a complaint.

  • The task of the Ministry of Social Affairs in co-operation with the institutions of the field is to ensure the availability, quality and safety of health care services, inform the population and ensure the people’s satisfaction with health care services.

  • The Estonian Patients Advocacy Association is a non-profit association that can also be contacted if you have any concerns. Advice and legal assistance are provided. You can also ask for free advice on your medicines by e-mail via the Estonian Patients Advocacy Association.

  • Every citizen has the right to appeal to the civil court of the Republic of Estonia to apply for the protection of his or her rights if patrimonial or non-patrimonial damage has been caused in the course of the provision of health care services and communication with the medical institution and authorities has not resulted in satisfactory results.

Illustratsioon: kaks meest uurimas plakateid.
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