School and student health care

School and student health care in Finland ensures an unbroken continuity of measures for health and wellbeing contained in maternity and infant clinical services.

School health care is provided for all primary and secondary school pupils. Student health care is designed for upper secondary school students, students in secondary level vocational education, students of universities of applied sciences and university students. Student health care is free of charge for students under the age of 18. Preventive services are free of charge regardless of the student’s age.

School and student health care are part of school and student welfare services, which also include the services of school welfare officers and psychologists.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health provides overall guidance and supervision for the health care for school pupils in primary education, and for students in secondary and higher education.

Pupil and student health care is a part of overall care provisions for youth, embracing their learning and physical, psychological and social wellbeing. Together with the MSAH, the Ministry of Education and Culture deals with pupil and student welfare, and both are responsible for the legislation in this field.

The 2010 Health Care Act covers the school and student health care rights.

A government decree of 2011 also deals with maternity and child health clinic services, school and student health services and preventive oral health services for children and youth.

The overall context in which pupil and student health and welfare are organised is detailed by the 2007 Child Welfare Act.

Health care for pupils and students is organised by the municipalities (local authorities) in which the schools, high schools, colleges and universities are located.

The municipalities provide school health care and student health care according to action plans. Their work in this area is monitored by the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

School health care

  • promotes and monitor the health and safety of the school environment and wellbeing of the school community;
  • monitors and further the growth, health and wellbeing of school learners in each grade;
  • supports the pedagogical work of parents and guardians;
  • provides oral health care;
  • identifies early on and aids examination and support concerning learners’ special needs, and support for self-care for children with chronic illnesses and guidance for further examinations and treatment;
  • special check-ups to establish the state of learners’ health.

The MSAH’s strategy and the government programme emphasise

  • developing school health care in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Culture;
  • promoting youth health and wellbeing and prevention of social exclusion;
  • reducing regional disparities in school health care by implementing the 2011 government decree;
  • Support for parenting.

Student health care

  • promotes students' health and learning ability;
  • safeguards and improves the health and safety of the learning environment and wellbeing of the learning community;
  • provides health and medical services, including for early detection of mental health problems and substance abuse problems, care and follow-up guidance, sexual health services and oral health services;
  • early identification of students’ special support and health examination needs and referral for further tests and treatment if necessary.

The MSAH’s strategy and the government programme emphasise

  • strengthening health promotion and early support for student health care through cross-sectoral decision-making and services through legislative changes and better implementation;
  • narrowing the health and wellbeing gap;
  • supporting young people in taking responsibility for their own health and lifestyle;
  • strengthening the wellbeing and resources of children, young people and families.

 

 

Further information

Maire Kolimaa, Ministerial Adviser 
STM, Hyvinvointi- ja palveluosasto / HPO, Palvelut-yksikkö / PAL, Lapset ja nuoret-tulosryhmä / LANU 0295163389