Pre-hospital emergency care and patient transport

Pre-hospital emergency care is part of the healthcare service. The hospital districts organise pre-hospital emergency care and associated urgent ambulance transportation in their area.


Pre-hospital emergency care refers to the urgent treatment given to a patient who suddenly becomes ill or has been injured and, if necessary, transportation of the patient for follow-up care. The pre-hospital emergency care staff start treatment, if needed, already at the location where the patient has fallen ill or has been injured.

The hospital districts can manage pre-hospital emergency care itself, in collaboration with rescue services or another hospital district, or purchase the service from a private service provider. Private service providers must have a licence for their operations granted by a Regional State Administrative Agency or the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira.

An ambulance can be called throughout Finland by dialling the emergency number 112. The Emergency Response Centre will answer and, if necessary, send an ambulance to the location.

Helicopter emergency medical services

The university hospital districts organise helicopter emergency medical services. FinnHEMS Oy, which is a non-profit company owned by the university hospital districts, is responsible for flight operations and the bases. The university hospital districts are responsible for the personnel, equipment and medicines. The HEMS units operate out of Helsinki, Turku, Oulu, Tampere, Kuopio and Rovaniemi.

Kela reimburses patients for travel costs relating to treatment retrospectively

Kela reimburses patients retrospectively for treatment-related travel costs incurred. Travel costs are usually paid on the basis of the least expensive way of reaching the nearest health centre or university hospital.

Reimbursement can usually be credited to you directly in ambulances and taxis.