Health services

The aim of healthcare in Finland is to maintain and improve people's health, wellbeing, work ability and functional capacity and social security, as well as to reduce inequalities in health.

The healthcare system is based on preventive, corrective and rehabilitating health services that function well and are available to the whole population.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for health and social policy and for preparing related legislation.

Public healthcare

Everyone is entitled to adequate health and social services. The wellbeing services counties, the City of Helsinki and the HUS Group, which is the joint authority for Helsinki and Uusimaa, are responsible for organising public healthcare.

Health services are divided into primary and specialised healthcare. Primary healthcare refers to the services organised by the wellbeing services counties, and they include monitoring the population’s health; promoting health and wellbeing; and preventing, diagnosing and treating diseases, in particular public health diseases. Primary healthcare services are provided at health centres.

Specialised healthcare refers to examinations and treatments in specialised fields. The majority of specialised healthcare services are organised in hospitals.
The status and rights of patients and the timeframes for access to care are set out by law.

Occupational healthcare

Employers are responsible for the preventive healthcare of their employees. On a voluntary basis, some also provide medical care.

Private healthcare

The private healthcare sector, such as healthcare companies and NGOs, supplement public services. Most of the private healthcare services are financed by the patients themselves or through their insurances. The wellbeing services counties may also purchase services from private service providers.

Other authorities

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is an expert and research institute tasked with the research and development of health and social services. Its duties also include several specialist task in the field, such as the national prevention of infections and prison healthcare. 

The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) guides, supervises and manages the administration of licences for the healthcare and social welfare sector.

The Regional State Administrative Agencies are responsible for supervising healthcare at the regional level. These agencies, in collaboration with Valvira, also supervise healthcare professionals.

The Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea) is responsible for licensing and supervisory tasks, research and development related to pharmaceuticals and their use, and for producing and disseminating pharmaceutical information.

Further information

Kirsi Ruuhonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Communities and Functional Capacity / YTO, Shared Services Unit / YPA Telephone:0295163239   Email Address:

Sirkku Pikkujämsä, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Medical Affairs 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Clients and Services in Healthcare and Social Welfare / APO, Service System Unit / PAL Telephone:0295163014   Email Address: