Language rights

The patient has the right to receive information concerning their treatment in a manner that allows them to sufficiently understand the content and purpose of the information.

Healthcare professionals are obliged to inform the customer concerning their state of health, the significance of the treatment, the different treatment options and other factors related to the treatment. If the customer and the treatment personnel do not have a common language, interpretation will be arranged if necessary.

In Finland, the customer always has the right to receive information concerning their own treatment for free.

In Finland, healthcare services are provided in either Finnish or Swedish

In Finnish public healthcare, services are provided in the official languages: in Finnish or Swedish. The law does not oblige the treatment provider to offers services in other languages.

In a monolingual wellbeing services county, social and healthcare services are provided in the language of the wellbeing services county.

A bilingual wellbeing services county must provide services in the client’s chosen language, either in Finnish or Swedish.

Moreover, the Sami people have the right to use the Sami language in the municipalities of the Sami Domicile Area and in the area of the Wellbeing Services County of Lapland in social and healthcare services that are provided only in operational units located outside the municipalities of the Sami Domicile Area.

Residents of the Nordic countries have the right to receive healthcare services in their own language

Based on the Nordic convention on social security, residents of the Nordic countries are entitled to use their own language (Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish or Icelandic) within Finnish public healthcare. If necessary, public healthcare must arrange for the necessary interpretation and translation when a patient arrives from another Nordic country.

Interpretation costs are a part of the costs of treatment

If you are receiving treatment within Finland’s public healthcare system and your medical costs are covered by another EU or EEA country or Switzerland, the interpretation costs will be invoiced as part of your treatment costs.

If you come to Finland with the intent to use healthcare services, you are responsible for arranging the necessary interpretation for your treatment. If you cannot understand the information concerning your treatment, healthcare professionals can arrange interpretation for your treatment.

If you are responsible for your costs of treatment, you will also need to pay the costs of interpretation related to your treatment.