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.
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.
- Book an appointment online or call
Go to the station’s website and make an electronic booking or call the phone number. You will be asked for your personal identity code (henkilötunnus), so be sure to have it on hand.
- 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 your 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.
Call your local health station when it opens at 8 am. This will improve your chances for a speedy appointment.
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 40 fee.
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 20 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 ailments. 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.
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. Permanent residents of Helsinki are entitled to the same health services as local residents.
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 care||Fee in the public system||Average fee in private system|
|Regular visit to the doctor||Maximum EUR 33||EUR 35-200*|
|Surgery||EUR 39-683||EUR 750-10,000**|
|Treatment sessions||EUR 9 per session||EUR 40-160 per session|
If you are confused about your health services status, call the 24/7 health care advisory helpline at tel. +358 9 310 10023.
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 Kela card. The card will give you a substantial state-sponsored discount on the cost of the medicine.
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.
Use Helsinki’s Service Map to find your local dental clinic by entering your address or postal code in the search field.
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.
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.