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Health services

The aim of health care in Finland is to maintain and improve people's health, wellbeing, work and functional capacity and social security, as well as to reduce health inequalities.

The system is based on preventive health care and well-run, comprehensive health services.

The MSAH is responsible for social and health policy and preparing associated legislation.

The MSAH strategy for social and health policy and the government programme stress

  • the ability of equal social and health services to be provided for everyone
  • strengthening of basic services, prevention work and the status of patients and clients
  • improving the quality, availability and effectiveness of services
  • that social and health service productivity can be improved by the reform of services and service provision
  • that services must be overhauled so that integrated and sustainable social frameworks are created for social and health care, and that the functionality of the service chain improves
  • that the responsibility for arranging and funding social and health services remains with municipalities

Health promotion

Health promotion and disease prevention are the primary aims of Finnish health policy.

Health promotion

Municipal healthcare

Everyone is entitled to adequate social and health services. Municipalities are responsible for arranging and funding health care.

Responsible agencies

Health services are divided into primary health care and specialized medical care. Primary health care refers to the municipally arranged monitoring of the health of the population; heal the promotion and various services. Primary health care services are provided at municipal health centres.

Specialised medical care refers to specialist health examinations and treatment. Most specialised medical care is performed in hospitals.
The status and rights of patients and timeframes for access to care are set out in legislation.

Client and patient rights

Occupational health care

Employers are responsible for preventive health care and, where possible, nursing care.

Occupational safety and health

Private health care

Private health care services supplement municipal services. Municipalities or joint municipal authorities may also procure services from private service providers.

Private service providers


The reform of the social and health care service structure is aimed to ensure the quality, effectiveness and timeous availability of services and to support the stability and sustainability of municipal economies.

The National Development Programme for Social Welfare and Health Care (Kaste) aims to reduce health and welfare inequalities and ensure that social and health care structures and services are arranged so as to be client-centred and financially sustainable.

Kaste programme

Other authorities

The National Institute for Welfare and Health (THL) is a specialist and research institution tasked with research and development on health services and other specialist tasks in the field.

National Institute for Welfare and Health (THL)

The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) guides, supervises and runs the licensing administration of social and health care.


Regional State Administrative Agencies are responsible for supervising health care on a regional level. These, together with Valvira, also supervise health care professionals.

Regional State Administrative Agencies

The Finnish Medicines Agency (Fimea) is responsible for licensing and supervisory tasks, research and development and producing and disseminating pharmaceutical information.