1. Can I choose a provider of specialised medical care from the municipality where I am studying, for example?

Specialised medical care is usually the responsibility of the hospital district with a central hospital and other hospitals, which is determined based on our municipality of residence. If you wish, you may also choose your specialised medical care provider from any location in Finland. Kela will reimburse some of the travel costs to the nearest medical examination or treatment unit.

  1. How often can I change my provider of specialised medical care?

In specialised medical care, the responsibility for treatment is transferred only in respect of the illness or treatment need indicated in the referral. If you need specialised medical care services more than once during the same year, you may choose your place of treatment separately each time and also change your place of treatment.

  1. However, the hospital must always be selected in agreement with the doctor. What does this mean?

According to the Act on the Status and Rights of Patients, the aim must be to treat patients in mutual understanding, when selecting the provider of specialised medical care, for example. The attending doctor or dentist will determine your need for care and decide on whether or not to draw up a referral. You are always entitled to choose the hospital where you wish to be treated. The referring doctor will also assess the level of treatment you need. In other words, you may not seek treatment at a university central hospital, for instance, if your illness does not require that level of treatment. If you decline the treatment prescribed by the doctor, you must be treated elsewhere in a medically acceptable manner.

  1. As a patient, san I choose to access specialised medical care services at a university hospital? What is the role of the doctor in this case?

As a patient, you are entitled to choose a university hospital instead of a central hospital. The doctor’s role is to serve as your advisor in questions related to selecting the place of treatment. For example, he/she must inform you on whether or not the hospital you have selected provides the treatment in question, how available the treatment is and how long the current waiting list is. However, the patient’s right to choose is the primary defining factor in selecting a place of treatment if the treatment can realistically be provided in the facility requested by the patient. Therefore, a university central hospital cannot be categorically excluded from your range of options if it provides treatment appropriate to the nature of your sickness. University hospitals also serve as central hospital-level treatment facilities for the population in their respective hospital districts. Secondly, university hospitals are responsible for the specialised treatment of certain diseases in accordance with the tiered arrangement.

  1. Can I also choose a private hospital?

You can always seek treatment at a private hospital. In this case, however, you are responsible for the costs of your treatment, for which you can be reimbursed in accordance with the health insurance system.

  1. I am dissatisfied with the hospital care I have received and I would like to transfer to another place of treatment in the middle of my treatment period. Is this sufficient grounds for providing me with a referral to another hospital?

In specialised medical care, the responsibility for treatment is transferred only in respect of the illness or treatment need indicated in the referral. When a treatment period is in progress, there are no grounds for referral to another hospital. The specialist doctor in charge of the treatment should examine the basis of the patient’s wish thoroughly and ensure that the possible causes of dissatisfaction are rectified. The patient’s desire to be transferred to another treatment facility may of course be based on practical reasons that are not related to how he/she has been treated or the medical quality of the care. In this case, the most suitable treatment solution for the patient should be determined and implemented.