Health services

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

The system is based on preventive health care and well-run, comprehensive health services.

The MSAH is responsible for social and health policy and preparing associated legislation.

Health promotion

Health promotion and disease prevention are the primary aims of Finnish health policy.

Municipal healthcare

Everyone is entitled to adequate social and health services. Municipalities are responsible for arranging and funding health care.

Health services are divided into primary health care and specialized medical care. Primary health care refers to the municipally arranged services and they include monitoring of the health of the population; promoting wellbeing and health; prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, in particular public health diseases. Primary health care services are provided at municipal health centres.

Specialised medical care refers to secondary and tertiary health care, provided by experts on medical (or dental) specialities. To a large extent, specialised medical care is performed in hospitals, but it is also offered as consultations to primary health care.

The status and rights of patients and timeframes for access to care are set out in legislation.

Occupational health care

Employers are responsible for preventive health care of their empolyees. On a voluntary basis, some also provide medical care.

Private health care

The private health care sector such as health care companies and NGO's supplement municipal services. Municipalities or joint municipal authorities may also procure health care services from private service providers.

Other authorities

The Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) is a research institution that studies and develops social and health care services. Its functions also include several specialist tasks in the field, e.g national prevention of infections and  prison medicine. 

The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) guides, supervises and runs the licensing administration of social and health care.

Regional State Administrative Agencies are responsible for supervising health care services on a regional level. These agencies, in collaboration with Valvira, also supervise health care professionals.

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

Further information

Taru Koivisto, Director General 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Communities and Functional Capacity / YTO 0295163323