Finland's healthcare system - Europe's highest satisfaction ratings

Finland's healthcare system - Europe's highest satisfaction ratings

hospital environment

Finland has reinvented itself in just one short century – and it is still at it. In many respects, Finnish healthcare is state-of-the-art among the OECD countries.

The scope, accessibility and quality of health care services have been developed systematically over the last decades and reforming the structure and content of social welfare and health care services is one of society’s most important goals in the coming years.

A system covering entire nation

As there are only five million of us, we can’t afford to leave anyone behind. That’s why world-class health care is available for all. The Finnish healthcare system provides comprehensive, high-quality healthcare ranging from primary to specialized medical care – and from care for newborns to services for the elderly.

Public healthcare is complemented by a number of private providers of specialized medical care, such as top-class specialists available to international patients travelling to receive care in Finland, or providers of state-of-the-art cancer treatment.

Some of the services covered by a Finnish public healthcare system

Health centers often have a ward for patients requiring nursing care

    Health counseling, including health education, contraception advice, maternity and child welfare and medical examinations
-    Screening and vaccinations
-    Oral health services
-    School and student healthcare
-    Mental health services
-    Emergency treatment, emergency cases also handled by hospitals
-    Home care services

Public healthcare in Finland is not free but charges are very low, since the system is mainly tax-funded.

Finnish preventive medicine prolongs live

Thanks to Finland’s globally acclaimed disease prevention and health promotion activities, life expectancy rates have risen markedly, especially over the last few decades. Combined with rapid access to life-saving care for cancer and acute cardiovascular diseases, these outreach policies have helped to ensure that Finnish people live longer. In addition, nationwide quality improvement programmes have hugely improved patient outcomes in the case of chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes.

World-class results

Finnish healthcare achieves world-class results in many areas, such as the effectiveness of specialized medical care, reducing cancer mortality, and in screening and vaccination coverage.

In 2013,
-    the life expectancy of newborn males in Finland was 77.8 years and, for newborn females, was 83.8 years.
-    the perinatal death rate was 3.5/1,000 children.
-    the overall fertility rate was 1.75.
-    vaccination coverage for small children was 95 %.

In 2012,
-    Finnish healthcare spending amounted to EUR 17.5 billion or 9.1 per cent of gross domestic product and around EUR 3,229 per     capita. Both figures are close to the OECD average.

The best country in life of mothers

In May 2015, Save the Children announced that Finland was the second best country in the world in which to be a mother, based on key criteria such as maternal health and the child’s wellbeing, as well as the mother’s educational, economic and political status: “Save the Children released its 15th annual “State of the World’s Mothers” report today, revealing the best and toughest places to be a mom. Finland tops the report’s 2014 Mothers’ Index.” Save the Children went on to state that Finland is a country, “where maternal deaths affect less than one in 12,000 women, and the probability of a child dying before the age of five is one in 345.”

This tremendous performance is due to decades of systematic development of comprehensive coverage by child health clinics. The result has been a drop in infant mortality rates from 95 per 1,000 children dying before the age of five in 1936, to just 3.5 by 2013.

World-famous maternity package for all

Finland is also known for its so-called maternity package, in which the state sends every expectant mother clothes and other necessities such as quilts, nappies, towels and clothing for newborns. Even the British royal family have received this handy package, when Finnish officials sent one to Prince William and Duchess Catherine upon the birth of their son George in 2013. In Finland, the package is viewed as a symbol of the country’s egalitarian culture and the belief that everyone is entitled to the best possible start in life.


Further information:

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health

National Institute for Health and Welfare


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