Health centre

Everyone has access to a health centre in their municipality of residence. As a public healthcare client, you can also choose which health centre you wish to use. You can choose the place of treatment for non-emergency care from among the health centres in your municipality of residence and also throughout Finland.

In order to change your health centre, you must give written notification both to your current and new health centre. You must wait at least one year before changing again. Responsibility for your care will be transferred to the new health centre within three weeks, at the latest, after your notification has been received.

You can be a client of only one health centre at a time. Your health centre will provide all primary healthcare services such as doctor´s and nurse´s appointments, maternity and child health clinic services, dental care and rehabilitation services.

If you live or spend long periods of time outside your municipality of residence due to work, studies, leisure, or in order to be near relatives, you can also receive treatment in the municipality where you are staying. Your treatment must then be based on a care plan drawn up by the health centre in your municipality of residence. The health centre responsible for your treatment will not change, however, as your choice in respect of non-emergency treatment will apply only to those health services included in your care plan. You must also provide written notification of this choice of place of treatment.

The ways in which municipalities in Finland provide their residents with healthcare services differ considerably. You should therefore find out what services your municipality and health centre provide. Some municipalities wish to offer their primary healthcare clients greater freedom of choice than that prescribed in the Health Care Act. For example, clients may change their health centre more often than once a year. Dental care and maternity and child health clinic services can also be chosen separately.

Medical supplies and their distribution are always the responsibility of the health centre in charge of your care. If you become a client of a health centre in another municipality, any medical supplies you need in the future will be supplied from that health centre. Medical supplies mean equipment used, for example, in the treatment of diabetes.

Changing your health centre

Before changing your health centre, find out how and where the services are actually provided. When you change your health centre, you simultaneously choose all primary health care services, which include, among others, maternity and child health clinics, dental care, mental health and substance abuse services as well as short-term ward care in the health centre.

You cannot choose where you will be provided with school and student health care, or long-term institutional care. Nor can you choose to have home nursing provided anywhere other than in your municipality of residence.

You can change your health centre no more often than once a year. In respect of healthcare services, municipalities can, however, offer clients wider freedom of choice in selecting their place of treatment than that provided in law. If this option is available, clients should be informed of this.

Responsibility for your care will be transferred to the new health centre within three weeks, at the latest, after your notification has been received.

Additional information about local healthcare services and possibly also a form for changing your health centre can be found on your municipality´s website or will be provided by your health centre. The National Institute for Health and Welfare’s online service has compiled comparative information about healthcare services in Finland.