In Finland, the state's responsibility to promote welfare, health and security is rooted in the Constitution. This enshrines the right of everyone to income and to care, if they are unable to manage adequately.

The duties of municipal authorities throughout Finland to arrange social and health care are stipulated by laws on social and health care planning and the central government transfers to local government.

The law on social welfare stipulates the services that municipalities must produce.

The law on the status and rights of social care clients includes issues of data security.

Special legislation covers

  • child welfare
  • the treatment of substance abusers
  • the special care of people with intellectual disabilities
  • disability services
  • informal care support
  • family care
  • rehabilitation
  • older people.

There are laws also dealing with ascertaining paternity, child maintenance and security, child care and implementing rights of access, adoption counselling, and family conciliation matters.

Laws on health care, primary health care and specialized medical care cover health services.

There are separate laws on occupational health care, mental health services and the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases, and the status and rights of patients.

Legislation also covers the professional standards of social and health care personnel.

Further information

Riitta-Maija Jouttimäki, Senior Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Clients and Services in Healthcare and Social Welfare / APO, Clients and Personnel Unit / ASI 0295163383