Availability of treatment

Healthcare services are considered as readily available if they are relatively easily accessible when needed, quickly and at a reasonable cost.

Maximum times for access to treatment

Maximum times within which treatment must be provided in non-emergency cases have been prescribed for access to treatment. In emergencies you have the right to receive treatment immediately at the emergency service of the nearest health centre or hospital.

Municipalities and hospital districts must publish on their websites information about waiting times for treatment at least every four months. If the municipality or hospital district has more than one unit, the information must be published separately in respect of each unit.

Maximum times for primary healthcare

Your health centre should be reachable with out delay by telephone during weekday office hours. Reachability by telephone means that, in addition to making an appointment, you are provided with advice and a preliminary plan for procedures, and information about how to deal with an ailment, a symptom or a problem. You can also make appointments, etc. with your health centre in person or through the municipality’s website.

The need for treatment must be assessed no later than on the third working day from your contact unless it can be assessed by telephone. The need for treatment can be assessed by a healthcare professional other than a doctor.

You must be able to access treatment no later than within three months of the assessment. You must be able to access oral healthcare within three months, but your treatment can be postponed on justified grounds for a maximum of six months. If your health centre or hospital is unable to treat you within the time limit, you can receive treatment elsewhere, either in another hospital district or in the private healthcare system.

Maximum times for specialised medical care

Access to non-emergency specialised medical treatment provided by a joint municipal authority for a hospital district or a health centre requires a referral from a doctor or a dentist. An assessment of the need for treatment must be started within three weeks of receipt of the referral at the specialised medical care unit.

The need for treatment is assessed either on the basis of a referral or further tests. Any further examinations that may be needed or a specialist´s assessment must be made within three months of the unit receiving a referral. Treatment and advice must be started within a reasonable period of time, taking into account the urgency of the treatment, within six months of the need being ascertained.

With respect to mental health services for children and young people, the need for treatment must be assessed within six weeks of receiving a referral. Individuals below the age of 23 with mental health problems must be able to access treatment no later than within three months of the need for treatment being ascertained.