The Parliamentary Ombudsmen (JO) are appointed by the Swedish Riksdag (parliament) to ensure that public authorities and their staff comply with the laws and other statutes governing their actions.
A patient was under care at the Medical Clinic at Uddevalla Hospital. When the patient’s condition worsened, the healthcare staff choose to put up bed rails around the patients bed without obtaining the patient’s consent and without registering the measure in the patient’s journal. The action was reported to the Health and Social Care Inspectorate. The Health and Social Care Inspectorate decided not to make any statements on the case. In the decision, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman emphasises that the outset for health and medical care is that the care is voluntary and executed in consultation with a patient. Measures without a patient’s consent should not be carried out unless there are exceptional circumstances pursuant to chapter 4, section 4 of the Patient Act. When it comes to using safety equipment, such as bed rails, it is mandatory to obtain a patient’s consent. The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman further notes that such safety measures may only be used to protect, aid, assist and activate a patient and not to deprive a patient of their liberty or limit his or her ability to move around. Nor may the measure be used to compensate a shortage of staffing. The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman holds that the care provider, by neglecting to collect the patient’s consent, and by not registering the measure in the patient’s journal, has deficiently administered the measure. The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman is very critical of these facts. Regarding the Health and Social Care Inspectorate’s processing of the case the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman abstains from making any statements on the authority’s duty to investigate the case. However, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman requests a review, by the authority, on how the Health and Social Care Inspectorate justifies complaint cases, to facilitate the individual’s interpretation of the case.
An appeal of a decision by Försäkringskassan was mistakenly sent to the Administrative Court. On June 30, 2017 a copy of the appeal arrived at an administrative unite at Försäkringskassan. The appeal was handed over to the Administrative Court on March 22, 2018 and at that time no further judicial review had been conducted. In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman states that such a delay is clearly unacceptable, no matter the reasons for the delay. In this particular case, the cause of the delay was due to an official’s lack of knowledge. The Parliamentary Ombudsman holds that the management of an appeal is basic knowledge and every official and specialist, outside of the re-examination unite, should know how to administer an appeal. The Parliamentary Ombudsman further states that a review of the time limit is solely an authority’s duty to process. It is accordingly not something an authority is able to dismiss.
Within the ambit of health and medical care the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman has examined certain queries regarding the processing of late termination of pregnancies. The first and foremost purpose of the examination was to realize the need for supplementary amendments of the existing legislation to endorse the processing of late terminated pregnancies and the interpretation of the Abortion Act (1974:595). In the decision, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman emphasises that the current case does not deal with the right to abortion or the limitations, nor is it the role of the Parliamentary Ombudsmen to make any statements on the meaning of the term viability, the time for when an abortion is deemed as executed, or how to process a late terminated pregnancy in line with medical or ethical arguments. It is the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman’s opinion that it is essential to view the legislation, as well as the general provisions of health and medical care, in coherence with the rule of law and that the legislation is interpreted expedient throughout the country. Health and medical staff need to understand what they should adhere to to safeguard the best available care when terminating a late pregnancy, and their measures need to conform to applicable provisions. By proceeding with the investigation, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman observed that there were ambiguities in the content of the general provisions of the Abortion Act, this may risk the rule of law and result in deficient uniformity when implementing the provisions throughout the country. It applies to, e.g., the time for when an abortion is deemed as executed, the meaning of the term viability, and how to handle a foetus that shows signs of life. The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman notes that cases on late termination of pregnancy require quick and efficient processing by the National Board of Health and Welfare’s legal counsel, as well as by the care provider that administers the termination of the pregnancy. According to the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman, the requirements are not enough to safeguard the rule of law nor in compliance with the intentions of the legislator. Late terminated pregnancies raise legal and medical issues that concern our basic human rights and display an area where unity is missing regarding the interpretation of the legislation in force. The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman states that the queries need to become subject to a new investigation and regulated apodictically in the legislation and other regulations. Therefore, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman will propose, to the government, to initiate a review of the legislation.
The chairman of a Social Welfare Board decided to move a child that was under care, pursuant to section 2 of the Care of Young Persons Act, from a family home to a halfway house when the board had taken a decision to place the child in a family home. The chairman of a Social Welfare Board may take a decision to move a child if the decision needs to be taken immediately pursuant to section 11, third paragraph of the Care of Young Persons Act. The capacity to take such a decision is intended for emergencies, i.e. when a child must be moved immediately. According to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s understanding, the placement of the child was not acute when the chairman took a decision to move the child. The chairman should have abstained from taking a decision to move the child. The chairman should have referred the matter to the board. The Parliamentary Ombudsman directs severe criticism towards the chairman for taking a decision to move the child.
A Social Welfare Board initiated an investigation concerning two siblings as a preschool handed in a report due to concern regarding the two children. A social welfare worker contacted the children’s father and informed him that a social welfare worker were going to speak to the children at the preschool. Thereafter the social welfare worker spoke to the children. During a case on child welfare, a child may be heard without a custodian’s consent and without a custodian present pursuant to chapter 11, section 10 of the Social Service Act. The Parliamentary Ombudsman has stated, in previous decisions, that a general outset should be to seek the custodians opinion, and to take it into account, to the most possible extent. When the board contacts a custodian, prior to talking to a child, it is not satisfactory to merely inform a custodian regarding a planned talk to a child. When the board informs the custodian about the talk, the board also needs to consider the custodian’s opinion. If the child has two custodians, their respective opinions should be clarified and registered in the child’s case. The Parliamentary Ombudsman directs criticism towards the Social Welfare Board in Falun municipality for neglecting to ask the custodians about their opinions and for not making a registration of the custodian’s opinions in the children’s case.
During a number of inspections conducted by the Opcat unit in 2018, the unit discovered that certain remand prisons, operated by the Prison and Probation Service, included so-called holding cubicles. The holding cubicles are small and have no windows, the interns are held temporarily in the holding cubicles until they are placed in the remand prison, or in connection to mealtimes. In the decision, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman notes that the holding cubicles do not live up to the conditions that should be met regarding an intern’s holding cell, pursuant to the Regulation on the configuration of remand prisons and police custody suites (2014:1108). The regulation is missing a definition on holding cells, and holding cubicles at remand prisons, are not excluded from the regulation’s requisites. The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman recognizes that there may be situations when the use of holding cubicles are necessary, i.e., in connection to a registration of a detainee or during a release. However, the regulation needs an amendment to facilitate this option. During the investigation of the present case, it was discovered that interns may be placed in holding cubicles for several of hours. The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman states that due to these circumstances a holding time of more than one hour, must be looked upon as a long duration of time. If the Prison and Probation Service use holding cubicles, the regulation should be amended to prevent the use of holding cubicles arbitrarily. A copy of this decision will be handed over to the government for information.
During an inspection of the National Board of Institutional Care’s home Hornö during March 2017, the Parliamentary Ombudsman discovered that intern’s medication and state of health were discussed during meetings where several categories of staff were present. Due to these discoveries, the Parliamentary Ombudsman decided to initiate an enquiry to investigate how this routine complies with chapter 8, section 2 of the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act.
In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman states that health and medical care and the social services that the National Board of Institutional Care provides, are two different operations that are independent in relation to one another, in accordance to the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act. Confidentiality provisions pursuant to the act therefore applies between the various branches of operations.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman notes that individual’s state of health or other personal conditions should not be discussed during, for example, a meeting between different categories of staff regarding an intern’s transfer, without taking the relevant confidentiality provisions into account. Given that there is some scope to interpret whether the operations in questions are independent in relation to one another, the Parliamentary Ombudsman does not direct criticism towards the authority for exchanging confidential data, in contravention to the Public Access to Information and Secrecy Act.
According to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s understanding there may be, to a certain extent, a need to exchange information between the operations, to safeguard the individual’s care. Therefore, the Parliamentary Ombudsman will propose, to the government, to initiate a review of the legislation in respect to situations that require a certain provision that applies to a situation when the confidentiality is breached.
In connection to the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s inspection of Borås District Court on October 16 to 18, 2018, the Parliamentary Ombudsman discovered that six civil cases, initiated during spring of 2014 and 2016, were still not settled.
In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman notes that there had been several deficiencies in the processing of the cases, the management of the cases lacked, among other things, the process management of a civil case, as well as too many respites.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman states that a judge is obligated to bring a case to a close. The same obligation applies to the head of the court as he or she is responsible for the court’s operations, and shall make sure that the court is run efficiently and according to applicable laws and regulations. The Parliamentary Ombudsman directs severe criticism towards a judge for slow and deficient processing of four cases, as well as criticism towards a judge for slow and deficient processing of two cases. In the decision, the Parliamentary Ombudsman also directs severe criticism towards a former chief judge for his failure to verify that the six civil cases were processed and settled within a reasonable time period.
On September 9, two new Parliamentary Ombudsmen, Katarina Påhlsson and Per Lennerbrant, took up their positions, replacing Cecilia Renfors and Lars Lindström.
Report from 2015–2017 including the themes: • information about rights• supervision• women deprived of their liberty,
A summary of the Annual Report for the fiscal year 2017/18 is now available for download on the web site.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen's overall statements for each supervisory area the year 2017/18.
The Swedish Parliamentary Ombudsmen - JOBox 16327 • SE-103 26 Stockholm • SwedenVisiting Address: Västra Trädgårdsgatan 4 AOpening hours: 9.00–11.30, 13.00–15.00