Access to non-urgent care to be sped up starting on 1 September 2023
Starting on 1 September 2023, non-urgent care in primary health care must be provided to people more quickly. The maximum waiting time for outpatient care will be shortened from three months to 14 days, and the maximum waiting time for oral health care from six months to four months.
In addition, from 1 September onwards, patients must receive an assessment of the need for and urgency of treatment on the same day as they have been in contact with the health care unit. This also applies to oral health care in primary health care. An individual assessment of the need for treatment must also determine whether the patient needs treatment faster than the maximum waiting time required by law.
Parliament adopted the legislative amendment on the maximum waiting times for access to care in November 2022, and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health sent the wellbeing services counties instructions on the implementation of the provisions on 14 July 2023. In addition to primary healthcare, which is the responsibility of the wellbeing services counties or the City of Helsinki, the amendment will affect student healthcare and prison healthcare.
The shortened maximum waiting times apply to care in cases involving an illness, an injury, an exacerbation of a long-term illness, new symptoms or a deterioration of capacity for work.
Tapani Hämäläinen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Medical Affairs, tel. +358 296 163 065, firstname.lastname(at)gov.fi