Public Healthcare & Services in Finland
For Emergency Services call 112
- Jump Down to:
- Patient Fees
- Kela Card
- European Health Insurance Card
- Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare
- Getting Medical Treatment: Procedures
- Municipal Health Centres
- Hospitals in Finland
- Organ Donor and Non-Donor Cards
- Blood Donors
- Pregnancy & Maternity
- Foreigners´ Crisis Centre
- Private Healthcare page
Travellers / Visitors!
If you are not a citizen of an EU or EEA country and you need medical care using payment or travel insurance, you should contact a private healthcare provider.
Travellers from EU or EEA countries holding a European Health Insurance Card are entitled to use Finnish public healthcare, and can get information on accessing services from the Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare.
Public healthcare is available to all permanent residents in Finland regardless of their financial situation. Primary health care services are provided by municipal health centres (terveysasemat), and specialised medical care is provided by district hospitals (sairaalat).
EU/EEA nationals on a temporary stay in Finland are entitled to state-provided medical treatment on provision of a European health insurance card.
Private healthcare is also available for those who prefer it.
Primary healthcare services include:
- Consultations with a doctor for people who have become ill, and for treatment of chronic illnesses - patients may be referred to specialists
- Health counselling, including health education, contraception advice, maternity and child welfare and medical examinations
- Screening and vaccinations
- Dental health services
- School and student health care
- Mental health services
- Emergency treatment; emergency cases are also handled by hospitals
- Home care services
Public healthcare in Finland is not free, though charges are very reasonable. Public healthcare is the responsibility of municipalities, and is primarily funded by taxation. It is also funded by patient fees. The maximum fees municipalities can charge are stipulated in the Act and Decree on Social and Health Care Client Fees.
Maximum Patient Fees
In 2016 the maximum out-of-pocket fee for treatment in primary health care ex. seeing a doctor at a health centre, is €20.90; this may be charged a maximum of three times per year. Fees for public healthcare have an upper limit per calendar year, beyond which clients are no longer required to pay (this does not apply to short-term institutional care).
Maximum patient fees, including hospital and dental fees, can be found in Finnish only at
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health > Sosiaali- ja terveyspalvelut > Sosiaali- ja terveydenhuollon asiakasmaksut
The page translates well at Google Translate
Low Income Households
If the standard fees will undermine statutory maintenance obligations of clients or their families, municipalities must determine charges according to clients' ability to pay.
When you visit a healthcare facility you will need to present your Kela card to prove your eligibility for social security and National Health Insurance in Finland. You will also need the card when purchasing medicines at a pharmacy; by showing your card you will receive the medicines at a reduced price.
Expat Finland's Social Security page details:
Citizens of the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland are entitled to public healthcare upon provision of a European Health Insurance Card.
If you are not from the European Union it is important to obtain travel insurance before visiting Finland, allowing you to use private healthcare services. European Union citizens can also obtain travel insurance if they prefer to use private services.
European Health Insurance Card
Prior to travelling to other EU or EEA countries, citizens should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from their country's national health insurance provider. The EHIC is free, and allows the holder access to state-provided healthcare during a temporary stay in any of the 28 EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, under the same conditions and at the same cost as permanent residents.
Important - The European Health Insurance Card
- is not an alternative to travel insurance. It does not cover any private healthcare, or travelling costs such as a return flight to your home country, or lost/stolen property
- does not cover costs if you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment
- does not guarantee free services. Each country’s healthcare system is different; services that cost nothing at home may not be free in another country
- Source: European Commission ec.europa.eu
The National Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare has been established in connection with Kela. It provides information on the Internet and by telephone on accessing healthcare outside your home country.
The website of the National Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare includes information about:
- Healthcare services for foreigners in Finland
- Healthcare services for Finns abroad
- European prescriptions
- Patient insurance and patient ombudsman
- Contact points and social insurance institutions in the EU countries
Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare: www.kela.fi/web/en/contact-point
Help-line: 020 634 0400 Mon-Fri 09:00-16:00, for questions about accessing cross-border treatment
In an emergency call 112 or your
In case of illness:
- Travellers / Visitors: If you have a European Health Insurance Card and want to use Finnish public healthcare, contact the Contact Point for Cross-Border Healthcare about accessing treatment. If you intend to use travel insurance or simply pay for your treatment, contact a private healthcare provider.
- Residents: If you're using public healthcare you must visit your registered health centre and make an appointment; this is not usually possible by phone.
Making a Doctor's Appointment at a Public Health Centre
This can be time-consuming and is a common cause of complaint; in a busy health centre you may spend hours making an appointment to see a doctor. Each municipality has its own system, but typically you will:
- Go to your health centre, and take a number to speak to the receptionist
- The receptionist will put you in line to see a nurse, who determines the need for and priority of an appointment with a doctor
- If an appointment is made, it is usually some hours (perhaps half a day) later. It may be the next day
- If you have the wherewithal, doctor's appointments can be made quickly online or by phone with private healthcare providers
Telephone Health Service
Residents of Espoo, Helsinki, Kauniainen, Kerava, Kirkkonummi or Vantaa can call the Telephone Health Service on (09) 10023 for medical advice or information on health care services. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The telephone service staff consists of qualified medical staff, and the service is available in English, Finnish and Swedish. Service is the price of a normal telephone call.
Primary healthcare is provided by municipal health centres - Terveysasemat.
Which Health Centre? Can I Change?
When you move and register your address, you will automatically be registered as a patient in the health centre local to your new address. You need to use that centre; it is not possible to make a doctor's appointment at a different health centre than the one at which you are registered.
Changing your Registered Health Centre: At your registered health centre; complete a written application form requesting registration in a different centre. This process will be completed within three weeks; during that time you will still need to attend your original registered health centre.
Health Centre Contacts
Health centres are run by municipal councils and no central directory is available for the whole of Finland. If a link for your area does not appear below, try going to your city's website at www.yourcityname.fi (ex. www.helsinki.fi) - these sites have English versions with health centre information. Alternatively call telephone directory information on 118 and ask for your registered health centre (terveysasema).
- Espoo > In English > Social & Health Services > Health Services
- Hämeenlinna > In English > Services > Health Care
- Helsinki > Social Services & Health Care
- Jyväskylä > In English & other languages > For Immigrants > Health Care
- Kuopio > In English & other languages > Social & Health > Health Services
- Oulu > In English > Health Services > Healthcare Centres
- South Karelia Social and Health Care District > www.eksote.fi provides health services for Lappeenranta, Lemi, Luumäki, Imatra, Parikkala, Rautjärvi, Ruokolahti, Savitaipale, and Taipalsaari
- Tampere > In English > Health Services > Health Centres
- Turku > In English > Health and Social Services > Health Services
- Vantaa > In English > Social & Health Care Services
For Emergency Services call 112
In an emergency you will be admitted directly into a Finnish hospital. If the situation is not an emergency you should first contact a health care centre. In a dental emergency, turn to the dental clinic in a health care centre and make an appointment.
Finland is divided into 20 hospital districts. The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS) is the largest of these, comprising about 30 hospitals.
The following districts also have hospital directories:
- Central Finland www.ksshp.fi
- Southwest Finland www.vsshp.fi
- Vaasa Central Hospital www.vaasankeskussairaala.fi
For other districts call 118 and ask for the local hospital (sairaala).
In Finland, as in many countries, there is a deficiency of suitable human organs for transplantation. Finnish legislation was amended in 2010 to include presumed consent to organ donation unless the deceased had expressly opposed the procedure when alive.
Quick Identification of Donors
Naturally time is of the essence when harvesting donor organs, and a challenge in Finland has been the speedy identification of organ donors and non-donors. Most people indicate in their will how they would like their bodies handled after death, but they do not carry a copy of their will in their back pocket. Organ donor status is not shown on all drivers' licenses as is the case in some countries.
Identify yourself as an organ donor or non-donor:
- Donors can ask for an Elinluovutuskortti at any pharmacy; simply add your name, date and signature to identify yourself as a donor or
- The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has downloadable PDF organ donor status cards available at their website; KYLLÄ (YES) for people who consent to organ donation, and EI (NO) for those who do not consent.
Simply print the appropriate card and complete it with the date and your name, and carry it in your purse or wallet. Your assistance could literally save someone's life!
Donor Status Cards: www.stm.fi/elinluovutustahto - Fi, Sw
Information Leaflet: Vahvista elinluovutustahtosi - Fi, Sw
Finnish blood bank officials say patients from Finland and its neighbouring countries display few differences in blood types. However they point out that patients with backgrounds from countries further afield may have rare blood types or blood group combinations that are difficult to match with Finnish donors. They are asking for more donors with foreign backgrounds to roll up their sleeves and give blood.
The Finnish Red Cross operates a professional, national blood donation service, without compensation. Details can be found at:
Women should visit a maternity clinic as
soon as they become pregnant or before the end of the 4th
month of pregnancy. The clinic monitors the health of the
pregnant woman and the child and organizes antenatal classes
for mothers and fathers. The services are free of charge
for the customers of the clinic. Once the infant is born,
the doctors and nurses of the infant healthcare clinic take
care of the health and vaccinations of the child. Information
on the topic can be found on the website of the
Ministry of Social Affairs & Health > In English > Social and health services > Health services > Primary health care > Maternity and child welfare clinics
Your registered health centre will provide you with more information on maternity and infant healthcare clinics.
Maternity Grant and Maternity Package
Pregnant women who are permanent residents in Finland are entitled to a Maternity Grant as long as certain conditions are fulfilled. Maternity grants are available either as a tax-free lump sum payment or as a Maternity Package of clothing and other essentials for a baby. Pregnant mothers who have been permanent residents in Finland for a sufficient period of time are entitled to a Maternity Allowance.
See: www.kela.fi > In English > Families > Pregnancy
Pregnancy in Difficult Circumstances
If you are pregnant and do not have a partner to support you, you can receive support for instance from The Federation of Mother and Child Homes and Shelters. Families receive support in relation to parenthood and life management. Mothers are welcome while they are pregnant or when they have already given birth.
The Association of Single Guardians and Joint Guardians: Finnish-only Information on divorce, visitation rights, maintenance / child support and custody in Finland
See also: InfoFinland > Living in Finland > Family
Abortion is allowed in Finland in cases where childbirth will cause a health risk for the woman or if pregnancy and childbirth would cause a significant strain on the womans life. Women under 17 years of age and over 40 years of age are allowed to request an abortion on the basis of their age. Abortions are provided free-of-charge in hospitals.
"Illegal abortions remain very rare because, due to the generality of the conditions specified in the law, in practice a woman can get an abortion under almost any circumstance"
Source: Wikipedia 26.1.2015
If you are considering an abortion, consult your doctor.
Dental care is provided by the health care centres as described above.
Medicines are sold only at pharmacies (you cannot buy aspirin, for example, in a super-market as you can in some countries). Some medicines are sold without a prescription but for stronger medication a doctor's prescription is always required. There is always at least one pharmacy in town that is open late. Almost all pharmacies have a queueing system; take a number when you enter the pharmacy!
Prescriptions: Finnish prescriptions are valid for one year from the date they are written. Foreign prescriptions are not valid in Finland, with the exceptions of prescriptions written in another Nordic country and EU cross-border prescriptions. You must specifically request EU cross-border prescriptions from your doctor.
Tip: There is an upper limit on annual medicine expenses. If your out-of-pocket expenses in a calendar year exceed the threshold the exceeding part is reimbursed in full, though a €1.50 co-payment applies to each purchase made after you have reached the threshold. In 2014 the threshold was €612.62
Kela: www.kela.fi/web/en > Our Services > Sickness > Reimbursements for medicine expenses > High medicine expenses
All Pharmacies: To find pharmacies in your area, the best results are found via an Internet search or the Finnish Yellow Pages. Search apteekki and your city / location. You can also try adding the postcode, or the name of a large street nearby.
- Apteekki.fi has launched a Finland-wide pharmacy search engine, though data is incomplete as of December 2015. Enter city, street name, postcode or a particular pharmacy's name in the search box.
www.apteekki.fi/apteekkihaku.html - Fi
- Yliopiston Apteekki: This Finland-wide chain of pharmacies generally opens for extended hours as well as on Sundays.
Locations: www.yliopistonapteekki.fi > Yhteystiedot - Fi
The Finnish Association for Mental Health runs the SOS Crisis Centre, which offers short term crisis counselling and guidance for anyone living in Finland including immigrants, asylum seekers, victims of human trafficking and undocumented immigrants. It assists with problems such as:
- Difficult situation in life
- Difficulties adapting to a new culture
- Marital relationship problems and family problems
- Suicidal thoughts
- Sudden losses
- Accidents, violence
- Mental health problems
The SOS Crisis Centre is free of charge and a referral is not needed to make an appointment. Counselling is Finnish, Swedish, or English, and interpreters can be arranged for other languages if necessary.
www.mieli.fi/en En, Fi, Sw
Phone: 09 4135 0510
Address: Maistraatinportti 4 A, 4th floor 00240 Helsinki
Open: Monday-Thursday, 09:00-12:00, 13:00-15:00 Friday: 09:00-12:00