Criticism of psychiatry services in two regions for carrying out regular checks using urine and blood tests as a condition for patients receiving certain tests or treatments

In the decision, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman criticises the psychiatry services in Örebro Regional Council and Region Stockholm for having routinely asked certain patient groups to provide urine or blood samples.

Örebro Regional County applied a procedure whereby samples were taken as a condition for patients to undergo a neuropsychiatric assessment. Samples were also obligatory before starting treatment with ADHD medicines and when following up such treatment. The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman states that the procedure is not justified and emphasises that an individual assessment of the need to take a sample must always be done. Where in an individual case taking a sample is assessed to be necessary, it is important for the patient to receive adequate information so they can make an informed decision and can give their voluntary consent to treatment. The patient should also receive information on the options that are available if he or she does not want to provide samples.

As regards Region Stockholm, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman notes that the psychiatry clinic concerned imposed a general requirement that all patients must provide samples at least once a year. Taking samples seems to also have been a general condition for doctors to prescribe ADHD medicines. The Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman concludes that this system is contrary to both the region’s own procedural documents and the statements the Parliamentary Ombudsmen made in a previous decision. Furthermore, the Chief Parliamentary Ombudsman emphasises that it is the responsibility of the healthcare provider, in relation to every individual patient and at any given time, to ensure that the requirement for individual assessment is fulfilled and that patients receive relevant information about the taking of samples and on the treatment options that are available.

Date of decision: 2023-11-28