Municipalities and joint municipal authorities are responsible for organising public healthcare services in Finland. A municipality can organise services by providing them itself or in collaboration with another municipality. A municipality can also procure services from a private company or from an organisation.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health steers healthcare in collaboration with the agencies and institutions under it. Public healthcare services are funded by tax revenue and client fees are charged for services.
Health services are also provided by private companies, independent professional practitioners and organisations. Kela reimburses a proportion of the costs of private healthcare to persons residing in and covered under health insurance in Finland.
Residents of other EU or EEA countries or Switzerland
You can obtain medically necessary treatment by presenting the European Health Insurance Card when you are temporarily staying in Finland. Medically necessary treatment refers to treatment that cannot wait for your return home. You may need such treatment in case of acute illness or accident. You can also receive treatment related to pregnancy and childbirth or to a chronic illness. The need for treatment must emerge during the course of your stay. You will receive treatment on the same terms and at the same price as the locals.
If your need for treatment is not urgent, you can contact a health centre (terveysasema) in your place of residence. The municipal health centres are normally open on weekdays between 8:00 and 16:00. At other times, emergency care is provided at hospitals. In some municipalities, emergency care services for basic healthcare are arranged in the hospital of a nearby municipality even during office hours.
The contact information for the health centres is available on the websites of the municipalities, such as www.hel.fi for Helsinki and www.turku.fi for Turku. You can also search for healthcare services according to municipality at the www.suomi.fi portal.
You will receive medically necessary treatment in the same manner and for the same customer fee as residents of Finland when you present a European Health Insurance Card at the hospital or health centre.
As regards customer fees, there is some variation between municipalities, but maximum amounts have been set as follows (2018-2019):
- Outpatient treatment: €41.20 per visit
- Hospital fee for short-term inpatient care: €48.90 per day
- Day surgery procedure: €135.10
- Treatment in a psychiatric hospital: €22.50 per day
Residents of other Nordic countries
In public healthcare, you can demonstrate your right to medically necessary treatment using an official identity card or passport. Your permanent address of residence must be in another Nordic country.
Residents of Australia
If you permanently reside in Australia, you are entitled to receive medically necessary treatment within public healthcare during your temporary stay in Finland. You will receive treatment within public healthcare at the same customer fees as Finnish residents by presenting your passport. Your permanent address must be in Australia.
You can also use Finland’s private healthcare services and Kela will reimburse you a proportion of the costs of medically necessary treatment.
Residents of other countries
You are entitled to emergency treatment in Finland’s public healthcare system. You are liable for the full costs of the treatment. You can also use private healthcare services at your own cost.
If you are in need of a doctor, contact a local health centre. Present your European Health Insurance Card and ID at the appointment. Health centres also have nurses who can treat wounds or prescribe medicine in less severe cases.
In private healthcare, you can book an appointment with a general practitioner or specialist directly. Private doctors and dentists set their own prices. Normally you will pay for the treatment upfront.
Public dental care is available to Finnish residents. If you need dental treatment during your stay because of an accident or illness, contact a local health centre. You will have to present a valid European Health Insurance Card to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident. You can also use private dental care at your own cost.
Medicines are available at pharmacies (apteekki). Finnish medical prescriptions are electronic – doctors do not issue paper prescriptions. If you have a paper prescription from another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, take your prescription to any pharmacy. You will have to pay the full price of the medicine upfront.
You can find the contact information of all pharmacies in Finland in the Apteekkihaku search service (in Finnish).
You may be asked to show your European Health Insurance Card at the pharmacy. Once you have paid for your prescription, you will get a receipt.
Read more about medicinal treatment and prescriptions in Finland.
If you are covered by health insurance in another EU or EEA country or Switzerland and have paid for the costs of medically necessary treatment in Finland’s private healthcare, you can apply for reimbursement from your own health insurance institution or from Kela. You can also apply for reimbursement for medicine and travel costs related to medically necessary treatment you have received in private or public healthcare. Kela reimburses these costs in the same manner as for residents of Finland.
Kela does not reimburse the costs you pay for public healthcare treatment. If you have paid the full costs of your treatment in Finland’s public healthcare despite presenting your European Health Insurance Card, you can ask the hospital or health station to correct the invoice or apply for reimbursement from your local health insurance institution.
In other reimbursement-related issues, such as if you have sought treatment in Finland at your own initiative or come from outside the EU/EEA area or Switzerland, ask your local health insurance institution for more information.
Except for emergencies, you always need a doctor’s referral for access to specialised medical care. In emergencies, you can go directly to first aid.
- The referral can be provided by a health centre doctor or a private healthcare physician if he or she considers that you require treatment provided in the specialised medical care system. In the case of non-emergency care, you can, together with your doctor, choose the hospital to which the referral will be sent.
- A referral written in another EU country can be accepted if it includes the information needed to assess your treatment requirements. The referral should be written in Finnish or Swedish. The treatment provider can also accept a referral written in another language. If you seek treatment in Finland from another EU country, send the referral directly to the treatment provider. You must cover any translation costs yourself.
- Your need for treatment and whether you will be accepted for treatment will be assessed by the specialised medical care unit on the basis of the referral. Your treatment need will be assessed within three weeks of receipt of the referral.
At the hospital, show your European Health Insurance Card and your identity card. If you come from outside the EU and EEA countries and Switzerland, present your passport or another valid identity card.
There are also private hospitals in Finland. If you seek treatment on your own initiative at a private hospital, you must pay the treatment costs yourself.
If you need an ambulance, call 112. If you have a European Health Insurance Card, show it in the ambulance. In this case, you will pay a deductible of EUR 25 for the ambulance transport. Without a European Health Insurance Card, you must pay for the actual cost of the transport. Transfers between hospitals are usually free of charge.
If you wish to travel to Finland for the purpose of using healthcare services, you can find general information on seeking treatment in Finland at our website. You should direct your questions about healthcare in Finland to the Finnish National Contact Point.
Quality and safety of treatment
In Finland, healthcare operations are supervised by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health Valvira and Regional State Administrative Agencies. The pharmaceutical sector´s supervisory authority is Fimea. In addition, healthcare organisations have the obligation to supervise their operations themselves.
According to the Finnish Health Care Act, services provided by the healthcare system must be of high quality, safe and appropriately organised. Every health centre and hospital must draw up a plan for quality management and the implementation of patient safety. This includes a system through which the healthcare unit reports and follows up incidents occurring in treatment.
You can claim compensation for treatment injuries related to care provided in Finland from the Patient Insurance Centre.
Read more about the supervision of healthcare in Finland.