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Health services

Mother and children at a neuvola appointment in Helsinki

IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY

In the event of a life-threatening emergency, call 112.

If you have an urgent but non-life-threatening medical issue, call the toll-free 24/7 Medical Helpline at tel. 116 117 before you go to an emergency clinic. A medical professional will help you get the assistance you need.

There are three emergency clinics in Helsinki: Haartman Hospital, Malmi Hospital, and for those under the age of 16, the New Children’s Hospital.

If you need emergency care on a weekday 8.00-16.00, you can also turn to your local health station for assistance.

A step-by-step guide to using health and dental services

  • Find the location of your local health station

Find the health station or dental clinic you have been assigned to by using Helsinki’s handy Service Map.

  • Choose one of four options

Go to the station’s website and 1) fill out a symptom assessment in Omaolo, 2) send a message via Maisa, 3) call the health station on the phone or, 4) visit the station in person. You will be asked for your personal identity code (henkilötunnus), so be sure to have it on hand. See our information on e-services Omaolo and Maisa below.

  • Be on time and bring your Kela card

Punctuality is highly valued in Finland, so plan ahead and arrive at your local health station at least five minutes before a scheduled appointment. At dental clinics, you will be asked to sign in to an e-terminal with your Kela card after you arrive.

  • Wait for your name to be called 

If you made your appointment online or by phone, you can walk past the reception desk directly to the waiting area. You will be called into the examination room by name. Some locations use a queuing system that issues a number.

  • Explain your situation in Finnish, Swedish or English

If you don’t speak one of these languages well, see our information below on Care in other languages.

  • Be prepared to travel to another location, if necessary

If you need blood work or specific treatment, you may need to visit another location after your appointment.

  • Pharmacies require a separate trip

If your doctor, nurse or dentist prescribes medicine for you, you will need to go to a pharmacy (apteekki) to pick it up. Read more on Helsinki’s pharmacies below.

  • Requesting or receiving a referral

General physicians are responsible for referring customers to specialists in the public system. Find more information on Specialist care below.

Your local health station

If you need health services or medical treatment in Helsinki, look no further than your local health station. Helsinki’s health stations are well-enough equipped to deal with most urgent cases and provide customers with the care they need. Permanent residents of Helsinki are automatically appointed a health station based on their home address.

If you develop an illness or condition that requires regular treatment, you will be assigned a doctor-nurse team from your local health station to assist you. Customers are always free to request a different doctor-nurse team or health station, if they wish. 

Callback system eliminates waits

To prevent customers waiting for long periods on hold, health stations in Helsinki have introduced a callback service that makes a note of incoming numbers and returns calls later. Note that stations using the callback system will only call you back twice after your initial call. If they cannot reach you, it is your responsibility to contact the station again. 

Although service wait times differ among Helsinki’s health stations, the majority of customers with an urgent medical issue are able to meet with a medical professional on the same day they call. 

How can I improve my chances of getting a same-day appointment?

Call your local health station when it opens at 8 am. This will improve your chances for a speedy appointment.

Are there penalties for no-shows?

If you cannot come to your appointment, be sure to cancel it at least 24 hours in advance. Otherwise, the city will charge you a EUR 50.80 fee. 

24/7 healthcare online

The City of Helsinki and the regional HUS hospital network use several e-services that provide answers to social welfare and healthcare-related questions all day and night. Most of the e-services require strong identification.

Strong identification is a secure way to verify your identity online. You can get strong identification in several ways (see Suomi.fi for other options), but most people in Finland use one of the two methods listed below:

  1. Online banking codes (also known as banking credentials) are available from banks operating in Finland. After opening an account with a Finnish bank, the bank will issue you a user ID, password and banking code list for personal use. Do not share this information with others. You can then follow your bank’s instructions for confirming your strong identification credentials.
  2. Mobile ID is available from Finnish mobile phone operators, who will activate a mobile certificate on your mobile phone’s SIM card.

Helsinki residents are encouraged to use Maisa as their primary means of communication with municipal healthcare providers.

Maisa is a digital communication channel used by the HUS regional hospital network and the City of Helsinki to provide round-the-clock service for healthcare, dental care, maternity and child health clinics and senior services. Maisa is available at www.maisa.fi and as an app. To log into Maisa, you will need a form of strong identification.

Log into Maisa to see your social and health service information and

  • book or cancel appointments
  • see examination and laboratory results
  • leave a message for a social service or healthcare professional
  • request prescription renewals and/or
  • authorise someone else to act on your behalf.

The My Kanta service is a secure online repository of your health records, such as your COVID-19 vaccination certificate, treatment records, laboratory tests results, X-ray examinations, and electronic prescriptions. With your permission, all social welfare and healthcare service providers in Finland will have access to this data, making it easy to provide treatment across all service providers, in any part of the country.

With the 24/7 Omaolo e-service, you can do an online symptom assessment and receive immediate instructions for self-treatment. This service is available without strong identification. If Omaolo’s symptom assessment determines that your symptoms need to be assessed by a healthcare professional, you can log in with strong identification and send your symptom assessment to your local health station. Your local health station will try and respond within 24 hours. In some cases, the healthcare professional will be able to prescribe you medicine based on the symptom assessment alone.

IMPORTANT! If you feel very weak or suspect that you are seriously ill, do not use an e-service. See our ‘IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY’ box at the top of the page for instructions.

Eligibility and fees

Everyone in Helsinki is entitled to urgent medical care, even people who are visiting or living here temporarily. Non-residents will be invoiced for their services later. The state benefit agency Kela can answer any questions you may have about your eligibility for medical care in Finland.

Customers of public health services in Helsinki may be required to pay a fee for some services. A maximum annual payment limit of 683 euros has been set for standard public social and health services. Most services are provided at no cost after this ceiling has been met.

The real costs incurred by medical care are naturally much higher than the fees charged to the patients, but in Helsinki, most of this cost is covered by tax revenue. 

Approximate costs of healthcare services in Helsinki (Source: hel.fi and laakarihinta.fi Nov 2020)

Reason for medical careFee in the public systemAverage fee in private system
Regular visit to the doctorMaximum EUR 33EUR 35-200*
SurgeryEUR 39-683 EUR 750-10,000**
Treatment sessionsEUR 9 per sessionEUR 40-160 per session
* depending on the length of the appointment and if it is with a nurse, doctor or specialist ** depending on the procedure
Learn more about Kela eligibility in this short video.

The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (known in Finland as Kela) provides social security and benefits such as housing benefits and parental allowances. Permanent residents and people working in Finland are eligible, while people here for a short period or temporarily are usually not. It is a good idea to apply for Kela benefits and a Kela card shortly after your arrival.

Am I eligible for healthcare in Helsinki?

If you are confused about your health services status, call the 24/7 health care advisory helpline at tel. +358 9 310 10023.

Pharmacies

Only certified pharmacies (apteekki) are permitted to sell pharmaceutical products in Finland. Strict Finnish customs regulations prohibit drug shipments from abroad, and Finnish doctors are prohibited from prescribing large quantities or dosages of medicine.

There are 50 or so pharmacies in Helsinki, with Yliopiston Apteekki at street address Mannerheimintie 96 the only location in the city providing 24-hour service. 

Nowadays, it is common for doctors, nurses and dentists to create an electronic prescription (resepti) that any pharmacy in the city can access, so you can use the services of any pharmacy that is convenient for you. Pharmacies use a queuing system for picking up prescriptions, and you will be asked to show your ID or Kela card. The card will give you a substantial state-sponsored discount on the cost of the medicine.

Dental care 

The city runs a network of close to 40 neighbourhood dental clinics. Due to high demand, customers may have to wait several weeks for routine dental check-ups or appointments with dental hygienists.  

You may be given a service voucher to receive treatment at a private dental clinic to lighten this backload. Remember to state that you are a customer of Helsinki’s public healthcare system when you book your appointment, and make sure to book an appointment while the service voucher is still valid.

To book a dental care appointment in the public system, ring Helsinki’s centralised dental care booking service at tel. +358 9 310 51400 Mon-Thu 7-18 and Fri 7-15.

Emergency dental care is available at two dental clinics in the Helsinki districts of Kalasatama and Meilahti on weekdays 8:00-15:00. Children and young people can normally receive the emergency dental care they need at their local dental clinic. On evenings, weekends and public holidays, emergency dental care is available at Park Hospital in Meilahti. If you need emergency dental care after 21.00 in the evening, help is available at the Emergency Department of Töölö Hospital, near the city centre.

Where is my local dental clinic located?

Use Helsinki’s Service Map to find the location of your local public dental clinic. 

What are the dental fees like in Helsinki?

Municipal dental care is not expensive, as these example fees indicate. Private dental care is pricier, but often has better availability.

Mental healthcare

Helsinki has services available for anyone struggling with the challenges of daily life. To seek help, contact your local health station and specify your needs. Your doctor can refer you to a psychiatric clinic or other mental health clinic, if necessary. You cannot use these services without a referral. 

Doctors and psychologists are bound to secrecy and cannot share information about you with other authorities or parties without your permission.  

Who can I call if I or someone I care about has a mental health issue?

Helsinki’s Crisis emergency support phone service at +358 9 310 44 222 offers round-the-clock mental health support in crisis situations and even makes home visits if necessary.

Need more information on Helsinki’s mental health services?

The city’s website has more information on psychiatric emergency services, substance abuse centres and preventative work.

Specialised care for non-urgent health services always requires a referral from a general physician. If you want to see a specialist about a recurring health problem, for example, you must first visit a doctor at your local health station, who will then make a referral.

Hospitals and networks of hospitals called hospital districts are responsible for providing specialist and emergency health services in Finland. The capital area’s Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, better known as HUS, is the largest of the 21 hospital districts in Finland.

HUS is made up of 24 hospitals throughout the southern province of Uusimaa. Eleven of these HUS hospitals are located in Helsinki. All forms of intensive medical treatment in Finland, including the treatment of rare and expensive illnesses, is delegated to HUS hospitals.

Health services in Helsinki are provided in both of Finland’s official languages, Finnish and Swedish. Most medical professionals also speak English well enough to provide care for many health issues. However, by law, customers have the right to treatment that is explained in a satisfactory manner in their mother tongue, so customers can request an interpreter if they feel it is necessary.

The City of Helsinki is responsible for arranging and financing these interpreter services. You should make your request for an interpreter when you call to book your appointment.

If you are studying at university or another higher education institute in Helsinki, you have the right to student health services, which are specifically designed for university students. Please contact your learning institution for more information. 

Residents with an irregular residential status receive urgent and medically necessary health services in Helsinki at the same way as local residents. People without proper documentation can also receive medical assistance and advice free of charge from the Helsinki branch of Global Clinic. The clinic does not report its customers to the police or other authorities.

Medical care for asylum seekers who are waiting for an asylum decision is arranged by their respective reception centres.

Private health services complement municipal services, providing primary and specialised care for a fee. The state partly subsidizes private healthcare, which keeps prices reasonable, but it is always more expensive than public services.

Many private healthcare providers have a direct reimbursement agreement with the state benefits agency Kela. This means that reimbursements from the state are deducted directly from your bill, if you show your Kela card.