Navigating Finland’s Primary Healthcare System: A Guide for Expats

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Riin Rehemaa
Social Media & Community Manager

Moving to a new country can be an exciting adventure, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges, one of which is understanding and accessing the local healthcare system. If you’re an expat newly arrived in Finland, rest assured that you’ll find a well-organized and efficient primary healthcare system designed to cater to your needs. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the key aspects of Finland’s primary healthcare system and offer helpful tips on how to make the most of its services.

In Finland, primary healthcare is the first point of contact for residents and expats seeking medical care. It encompasses a broad range of essential health services, from preventive care and health promotion to diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. The primary healthcare system aims to provide accessible, affordable, and high-quality care to all individuals, regardless of their nationality or financial status.

Local Care and Multidisciplinary Approach

Finland’s primary healthcare system is primarily organized at the municipal level. Each municipality is responsible for providing healthcare services to its residents, including expats residing within its boundaries. Therefore, your access to primary healthcare services will depend on your place of residence in Finland.

To access primary healthcare services, you’ll need to register with your local health center, also known as “terveyskeskus” in Finnish. Registration is a straightforward process and often requires presenting your proof of residence in the municipality.

Finland’s primary healthcare system embraces a multidisciplinary approach. In addition to a doctor, you might interact with nurses, physiotherapists, dentists, and other specialists. This collaborative model ensures comprehensive and holistic care for patients.

Appointment-Based System

Finland’s healthcare system operates on an appointment-based model, meaning that you’ll need to schedule an appointment to see your doctor or healthcare professional. In non-urgent cases, appointments can usually be made within a reasonable timeframe, but it’s advisable to book well in advance for routine check-ups or consultations.

Emergency Care and After-Hours Services

For emergencies requiring immediate medical attention, Finland has a well-organized emergency care system. Dial the national emergency number, 112, for urgent medical situations, and an ambulance will be dispatched promptly.

After-hours medical services are available for urgent matters that cannot wait until regular clinic hours. If you are not sure whether your situation requires urgent care, you can call the Medical Help Helpline telephone service at 116117. The Medical Helpline provides free-of-charge telephone service almost everywhere in Finland, around the clock.

Patient Fees and Health Insurance

Finland’s healthcare system is partly funded by patient fees, which are relatively affordable. As an expat, you’ll likely be eligible for public healthcare services if you are a resident or covered under the Finnish social security system. The client fee charged for treatment is the same for all residents regardless of their citizenship or the country from which they arrived in Finland.

Some expats may also need to consider private health insurance to supplement their coverage or if they do not meet the criteria for public healthcare.

Digital Healthcare at Your Fingertips

Recognizing the challenges expats face in reaching their doctors promptly, as well as language barriers, Salu steps in as a digital healthcare solution.

We provide a user-friendly platform for online doctor consultations, prescription renewals, multilingual support, as well as preventive healthcare solutions, like Full-Body Analyses Package.

For expats struggling to find doctors fluent in their language or seeking quick medical advice, Salu can be a practical solution. Our medical team usually replies within 30 minutes, allowing you to start the chat from the convenience of your home.

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