Healthcare and social welfare system and responsibilities

Finland’s healthcare and social welfare system is founded on public healthcare and social welfare services supported by government funds.

Alongside the public sector, private companies provide services.

Finland also has an extensive network of non-governmental healthcare and social welfare organisations that provide services both free of charge and for a fee.


Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

  • drafts legislation and guides its implementation
  • directs and guides the development and policies of social security and healthcare and social welfare services
  • sets the guidelines for healthcare and social welfare policy, prepares key reforms and guides their implementation and coordination
  • is responsible for links with political decision-making.

Research and development

The government agencies and public bodies within the Ministry’s administrative branch are responsible for research and development in the administrative branch. The Ministry’s branch of government includes:

Organisation of health and social services

The responsibility for organising healthcare, social welfare and rescue services was transferred from municipalities and joint municipal authorities to wellbeing services counties at the beginning of 2023. 

Starting on 1 January 2023, primary healthcare, social welfare, specialised healthcare, oral healthcare, mental health and substance abuse services, services for persons with disabilities and housing services for older persons are be organised by 21 wellbeing services counties and the City of Helsinki. The HUS Group, the joint authority for Helsinki and Uusimaa, is responsible for organising specialised healthcare as separately laid down by law. 

The wellbeing services counties serve as the organiser and primary provider of health and social services. The municipalities and wellbeing services counties cooperate with each other in promoting health and wellbeing. Private operators along with organisations and associations  supplement public health and social services.

Licences and monitoring

The Regional State Administrative Agencies guide and supervise public and private healthcare and social welfare services and assess their availability and quality. They grant licences to private service providers in their respective regions.

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

Further information

Kari Hakari, Director General 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Steering of Healthcare and Social Welfare / OHO Telephone:0295163642   Email Address: