Freedom of Choice in Health Care

Freedom of Choice in Primary Health Care

Based on the Finnish Health Care Act, you have the freedom to choose any health care centre in Finland as your primary centre of care.

In other words, you may choose the unit providing you primary health care services, including for example non-institutional health care, maternity clinics and child health clinics, other types of health guidance, mouth and dental care, mental health and substance abuse services, medical rehabilitation, and short-term inpatient care at a municipal health care centre.

The freedom of choice does not apply for school health care, student health care, or long-term institutional care. Furthermore, municipalities do not have the obligation to organize home nursing outside their own municipality area.

Freedom of Choice in Specialized Health Care

If your doctor or dentist determines you need specialized health care, you may choose the municipal unit providing specialized health care from all the units in the entire country, as long as the doctor or dentist writing the referral agrees with your choice. Your choice of care unit depends on the referral. If you need specialized health care at a later time, you may choose the care unit independently of your previous choice.

Do the following

If you wish to receive primary health care at a health care centre in another municipality, you must file in a notice of change in writing both at your old and the new centre. Responsibility of the care provided is transferred to the health care centre of your choice within three weeks of the date they received the notification at the latest.

To whom and on what terms

You may choose just one health care centre at a time. You may choose to change your health care centre again first after one year from the previous change.

This freedom of choice is based on the Finnish Health Care Act, and it is applied on public health care only.

Payment details

Basic information and legislation