Quality of care in Finland among the best in OECD countries
On several indicators, the quality of health care in Finland is top notch when compared to that of other OECD countries. Finland is among the best performing OECD countries in the treatment of cervical, breast and colorectal cancers. The mortality rate of patients admitted to the hospital due to a heart attack or stroke in Finland is among the lowest in the OECD countries.
In 2013, 8.5 per cent of heart attack patients aged 45 years or more and 6.5 per cent of stroke patients in the same age group died within 30 days of falling ill. On average, the corresponding rates in OECD countries were 9.5 per cent and 10.1 per cent. Finland's results have visibly improved from what they were in 2011.
The OECD measures the performance of primary care based on the number of avoidable specialised care hospital admissions. In Finland, there are fewer hospital admissions linked to asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD (193/100,000 persons in 2013) than in other OECD countries on average (242/100,000).
Finland has had a great deal of hospital admissions related to diabetes (126/100,000), but over the past five years the number has dropped so that it is now below the OECD's average (150/100,000).
Health care systems are evolving too slowly in OECD countries for the countries to be able to meet the requirements for treatment of chronic diseases. It is possible to improve the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of diseases in all Member States.
Problems with access to health care in Finland
According to the OECD's report, there are more problems with access to health care services in Finland than in the other Nordic countries. In 2013, 4 per cent of Finns reported that they had not received the treatment they required due to cost, travelling distance or waiting time. The corresponding rate was higher only in Italy, Estonia, Poland, Greece and Latvia.
The waiting times for non-urgent procedures have shortened significantly in Finland after the treatment guarantee was introduced in 2007. However, the waiting times, for example, for cataract, knee or hip surgery are still longer than in other OECD countries.
The OECD publishes the Health at a Glance report once every two years. The report compares the resources available to, the quality of, and the access to health care as well as the health status of the population and health expenditure in 34 countries.
Ministerial Adviser Antti Alila, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 29 516 3275
Research Professor Mika Gissler, National Institute for Health and Welfare (contact person for OECD health statistics), tel. +358 29 524 7279
Chief Specialist Päivi Hämäläinen, National Institute for Health and Welfare (contact person for the OECD's Health Care Quality Indicators project), tel. +358 29 524 7665
How Finland compares with other OECD countries
On selected indicators of quality of care, waiting times and unmet care needs (2013 or nearest year)
Note: The closest the dot is to the center “target”, the better the country performs. The countries in the inner circle are in the top quintile among the best performing OECD countries, while those in the outer circle are in the bottom quintile.
Source: OECD Health at a Glance 2015 (chart design: Laboratorio MeS).