About supervision

IVO conducts supervision of services in the area of social services, in health care and for people with disabilities, activities under the Act concerning Support and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Impairments (LSS), and supervision of health care professionals in their professional activities. Since 2021 IVO also supervises aesthetic treatments.


Health care and social services affect everyone, directly or as a close relative, in different ways in different phases of life.


Under the Health and Medical Services Act all citizens shall be given good care on equal terms irrespective of where in the country they live. The individual patient, care receiver or relative must be able to be sure that the Act is followed and that their interests are safeguarded. It is important to be able to count on the rules concerning processing, safety, equal treatment and the right to a particular service actually being complied with. Supervision means an independent and free-standing examination that laws and other regulations are followed.


Health care, LSS activities and social services often require well-coordinated and integrated interventions by service providers. This is equally applicable to elderly care, rehabilitation and the area of functional impairments and to psychiatry and dependency care. The dividing lines between the responsibilities of various providers are sometimes unclear. This means that at IVO we do not just examine individual services but that we also look at how the whole care chain functions and whether and how collaboration takes place between different providers.


In social care we conduct supervision of, for example, elderly housing, residential care homes for children, young people and adults, dependency care, SSA activities and individual and family care in the social services. We can also examine how a municipality has gone about placing a child or young person in an emergency or family home, but we cannot examine the homes as such.


In health care we conduct supervision of, for example, primary care, home health care, psychiatric and somatic specialist care and pre-hospital care, including ambulance services. We also have supervisory responsibility for medical care in the Prison and Probation Service and school health care.


IVO also examines health care professionals and licensed pharmacy professionals – pharmacists and dispensers. If we identify any deficiencies in their professional practice that represent a threat to the patient, we can propose various actions such as, for example, withdrawing the right to prescribe narcotic substances, further advanced training or guidance by another professional. If the deficiencies are extensive, serious or recurring, IVO can propose that the person be delicensed and lose the right to practice their profession. It is the Medical Responsibility Board (HSAN) that takes decisions in all authorisation matters concerning licensed health care professionals.


Scope of supervision

In the area of health care IVO conducts supervision of both services and licensed health care professionals. In the case of the social services and LSS activities IVO only supervises the services.


Apart from when there are special instructions in statutes or specific assignments from the government, IVO’s supervision shall mainly look at:

  • services where quality and safety are assessed as low and where this may have serious consequences for the population or the individual
  • services that do not have a functioning management system for quality and safety (for systematic quality work) 
  • licensed health care professionals where there are suspicions that the professionals are not practising their profession in a satisfactory way.


The area of health care

In the area of health care IVO’s supervision covers:

  • public and private health care units such as hospitals, health centres, dental clinics, care homes, school health units and tissue banks
  • pharmacies 
  • licensed health care professionals (about 265 000 licensed individuals spread across 21 professional groups) 
  • occupational health services 
  • units for forensic psychiatric examinations and units where care is provided under the Compulsory Mental Care Act and the Forensic Psychiatric Care Act as regards safety for patients and staff 
  • the compliance of government agencies, county councils and municipalities with the Act on Protection against International Threats to Public Health 
  • protection against the spread of communicable diseases.

IVO’s supervision also covers medical technology.


Social services and LSS activities

In the case of the social services and LSS activities IVO’s supervision covers:

  • municipal social services such as non-institutional care, social service departments (exercise of government authority), home care services, day activities, special housing and housing with special services
  • services for the care and treatment of children, young people, families and adult substance misusers that are run by municipalities or private providers, and residential care homes and special residential homes for young people (run by the National Board of Institutional Care) have to be inspected at least once a year. 
  • institutions for the care and treatment of young and adult substance misusers that are run by the National Board of Institutional Care 
  • the compliance of the municipalities in executing decisions favourable to individuals.