Finland enacted as the first country in Europe an Act on the Status and Rights of Patients. This report deals with the experiences gained in the course of the implementation of the patient law during the past three years it has been in force. Patients' rights to information and self-determination are considered as the most central matters. Also the right to good care, the status of minor patients and patients' right to privacy protection are important matters. Patient ombudsmen have tried to convey information to the field on the law and the obligations it imposes on health care personnel. The law is considered to already have influenced practical functions within health care. However, there is still much to improve in patients' access to information and in the treatment of patients; the attitudes and the care traditions change slowly. That living wills have become more general is a manifestation of people's willingness to use their right of self-determination even when they are no more able to express their will. Complaints that are processed at the local level are frequent, and each organization has a Patient Ombudsman. The principles of this system of complaints and patient ombudsmen are considered good, but there is much room for improvement.