Health services in Finland
- What health services can you use?
- Public health services
- Private health services
- Health care for Nordic citizens
- Health care for EU citizens
- Health care for employees and entrepreneurs
- Health care for students
- Health care for refugees and asylum seekers
- Health care for undocumented migrants
- Other information websites
What health services can you use?
You are entitled to use public health services in Finland if you have a municipality of residence (kotikunta) in Finland. The right to a municipality of residence depends on the following matters:
- the country from which you have come to Finland
- your reason for coming to Finland (e.g. work, studying)
- whether you are moving to Finland permanently or staying here temporarily
- if you are staying in Finland temporarily, the length of your stay in Finland
If you are unsure whether you have a municipality of residence in Finland, find out at the Digital and Population Data Services Agency (Digi- ja väestötietovirasto).
You can find more information on the InfoFinland web page Municipality of residence in Finland.
If you do not have a municipality of residence in Finland or are not covered by Finnish health insurance, you may have the right to health care or reimbursements from Kela on other grounds. You must apply for this right separately.
Ask for more information at Kela’s international situations unit.
- tel. 020 634 0200 (Finnish and English), 020 634 0300 (Swedish)
The Social Insurance Institution of Finland, KelaHow to apply for the right to health care at KelaLink redirects to another website
In an emergency situation, you will be treated in public health care even if you do not have a municipality of residence in Finland or you are not entitled to medical care based on your work. The medical costs can be collected from you afterwards.
If you are not entitled to public health services, you can make an appointment at a private clinic. Private health services are considerably more expensive for the customer than public ones.
Health services in Finland are offered in Finnish and Swedish. Often you can also get along with English. When making an appointment for health services, ask if it is possible to use an interpreter (tulkki) if you cannot speak any of the above-mentioned languages. Read more on the InfoFinland web page Do you need an interpreter?
When you have made an appointment with a doctor it is important to be there on time. If you have made an appointment but cannot keep it, it is very important to cancel it in good time, usually the previous day. If you do not arrive at the clinic and you have not cancelled your appointment, you will be charged a non-attendance fee.
Public health services
Public health care in Finland is organised by the wellbeing services counties (hyvinvointialue).
If you fall ill, contact your own health and social services centre (sosiaali- ja terveyskeskus) first. There you can make an appointment with a doctor or nurse.
Different wellbeing services counties may use different names for health and social services centre, such as terveysasema, terveyskeskus or hyvinvointiasema. You can find information about the health services of different localities on the InfoFinland websites for different areas or the website of your wellbeing services county.
The services of health and social services centres are relatively affordable to clients, as they are funded through tax revenue.
Health and social services centres are usually open from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 4 pm. To make an appointment, it is a good idea to call the health and social services centre in the morning as soon as it opens. You will be given an appointment at short notice if you have a condition that requires urgent care. If you do not need urgent treatment, you will have to wait longer for a doctor’s appointment. When booking your appointment, you will be told how soon you will receive treatment.
The person making your appointment will also evaluate whether you need to see a doctor or a nurse. In Finland, nurses can treat a number of illnesses. If necessary, the nurse will refer you to a doctor. If you have a Kela card, take it along when you go to the health and social services centre.
If you need the services of a specialist, first book an appointment with a general practitioner. When necessary, a health and social services centre doctor will give you a referral to a specialist. Specialists work in some health and social services centres, out-patient clinics and hospitals. Special health care is given at central hospitals and university hospitals.
In Finland, public health service doctors do not make home visits. Some private clinics offer home visits. A private doctor's home visit is, however, expensive.
If you are ill for a long time and you are unable work, you can find more information about Kela’s sickness allowance on the InfoFinland web page Support during illness.
On-call public health services
Health and social services centres are usually closed in the evenings and at weekends. At these times, acute cases are treated at emergency clinics (päivystys).
Emergency clinics are intended for situations in which the patient requires immediate treatment. If your illness does not require immediate treatment, book an appointment at your health and social services centre the next time it is open.
Emergency services are often provided at a hospital and sometimes, in small municipalities, in a neighbouring town. Emergency services for children and the young are often arranged at a separate unit. The Päivystysapu phone service is available almost everywhere in Finland. Its phone number is 116 117.
Ask for more information at your health and social services centre during opening hours or search for more information on the website of your wellbeing services county.
Ministry of Social Affairs and HealthWellbeing services counties on the mapLink redirects to another website
Private health services
The contact information for private clinics can be found online, for example. It will probably be faster to get an appointment with a private clinic than public health services. Private health services are considerably more expensive for the client than public ones. Different clinics offer different services. Private health services can be used by everyone, including those who do not have a municipality of residence in Finland.
Kela pays a small part of the expenses of private health care and dental care if you are covered by Finnish national health insurance (sairausvakuutus). Sometimes a person who is not covered by Finnish national health insurance may also be entitled to Kela reimbursements. Ask for more information at Kela.
Sometimes Kela’s reimbursement can be deducted directly from the sum you pay at the cash desk. Bring along your Kela card. You can also apply for reimbursement from Kela afterwards.
For more information about the Finnish national health insurance, go to the InfoFinland web page Finnish social security.
Read more on the page Medication.