Finnish and Swedish are the official languages in Finland and healthcare services are usually provided in these languages. However, healthcare professionals commonly speak English.
Treatment is provided in Finnish or Swedish depending on whether the municipality or joint municipal authority arranging the services is monolingual or bilingual. In a bilingual municipality or joint municipal authority, you can choose to use either Finnish or Swedish. In a monolingual municipality, the services are provided in either Finnish or Swedish. The Finnish legislation does not oblige the service provider to offer services in other languages than Finnish or Swedish.
In Enontekiö, Inari, Sodankylä and Utsjoki, public healthcare services are also provided in the Sami language.
Healthcare professionals must ensure that the patient understands the matters concerning their treatment
Healthcare professionals are obliged to inform the patient concerning their state of health, the significance of the treatment, the different treatment options and other factors related to the treatment. If the patient and the treatment personnel do not have a common language, interpretation will be arranged.
The patient or the treatment provider will cover the costs of interpretation.
- If you come to Finland from another EU or EEA country or from Switzerland and you require medically necessary treatment during your residence in Finland, the interpretation costs are a part of the costs of treatment and they will not be collected from you separately.
- You will also not be responsible for interpretation costs if you seek treatment in Finland and you have prior authorisation from your country of residence (form E 112 or S2). In this case, the interpretation costs will be charged from the party that granted the authorisation.
- You will be responsible for interpretation costs if you seek treatment in Finland without prior authorisation from your country of residence (form E 112 or S2). In this case, you will usually need to arrange the necessary interpretation yourself. The treatment personnel will arrange the interpretation if you cannot understand the information concerning your treatment.
- If you are covered by health insurance outside of the EU or EEA countries or Switzerland and you require emergency treatment during your temporary residence in Finland, you can be charged the interpretation costs in addition to the treatment costs.