Healthcare in Helsinki

How to find a General Practitioner, doctor, physician in Helsinki

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Finland has a highly decentralized three level socialized system of health care and alongside these, a much smaller private health care system. Responsibility for health care is assigned to the municipalities (local government).  Primary health care is obtained from district health centers employing general practitioners and nurses that provide most day-to-day medical services. The general practitioners are also gatekeepers to more the more specialized services in the secondary and tertiary care sectors. Secondary care is provided by the municipalities through district hospitals where more specialist care is available. Finland also has a network of five university teaching hospitals which makes up the tertiary level. These contain the most advanced medical facilities in the country and they are where Finnish doctors learn their profession. These are funded by the municipalities, but national government meets the cost of medical training. These hospitals are located in the major cities of Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Kuopio, and Oulu.

Employers are obliged by law to provide occupational health care services for their employees, as are educational establishments for their students as well as their staff. Only about 10 per cent of the income of private sector income comes from private insurance. Most is paid for out of pocket, but a significant share of the cost is reclaimable from the national insurance system KELA. The separate private health care system is very small. Between 3 and 4 per cent of hospital in-patient care is provided by the private health care system and the remainder by the public or socialized system. Physiotherapy, dentistry and occupational health services are the main areas where the private sector is most used, although the municipalities by law also have to provide basic dental services. Glasses are also not publicly subsidized.Overall, the municipalities (funded by taxation, local and national) meet about two thirds of all medical care costs and the remaining one third by the national insurance system (nationally funded) and patients themselves by direct charges and fees for service. Direct fees to residents meet about 10 percent of the cost of social welfare and health medical care in Finland .  There are caps on total medical expenses that are met out of pocket for drugs and hospital treatments. All necessary costs over these caps are paid for by the National Insurance system. The quality of service in Finnish health care is considered to be good and Finnish health care expenditures are below the European average.

A Patient's Injury Law gives patients the right to compensation for unforeseeable injury that occurred as a result of treatment or diagnosis. Health care personnel need not be shown to be legally responsible for the injury thus avoiding the development of defensive medical practices. To receive compensation, it is sufficient that unforeseeable injury as defined by law occurred. A law on patients' status and rights, the first such law in Europe, ensures a patient's right to information, to informed consent to treatment, the right to see any relevant medical documents, and the right to autonomy. Legislation also lays down the time frame in which a person must be ensured access to necessary medical care and defines the small percentage of treatments that are to be considered as non-urgent. However, doctors are free to decide independently how to treat patients. The government does not dictate how doctors may treat their patients.

At the surgery, with the doctor (GP)

Primary healthcare is provided by municipal health centers (Terveysasemat). They are usually only open for specific hours on weekdays, so you should make an appointment to see a doctor if you want to avoid a lengthy wait. You need to use the centre which is closest to the place where you live; it is not possible to make a doctor's appointment at a different center.  Health centers are run by municipal councils and no central directory is available. If a link for your area does not appear below, try going to your city's Web site at (ex. - many of these sites have English versions with healthcare information. Alternatively call telephone directory information on 118 and ask for the local health centre (terveysasema).


Women should visit a maternity clinic as soon as they become pregnant or before the end of the 4th month of pregnancy. The clinic monitors the health of the pregnant woman and the child and organizes antenatal classes for mothers and fathers. The services are free of charge for the customers of the clinic. Once the infant is born, the doctors and nurses of the infant healthcare clinic take care of the health and vaccinations of the child. Your local health center will provide you with more information on maternity and infant healthcare clinics.

At the pharmacy (Apteekkit)

Medicines are sold only at pharmacies. Some are sold without a prescription but for stronger medication a doctor's prescription is required. There is always one pharmacy in town that is open late. The Finland-wide Yliopiston Apteekki chain of pharmacies generally opens for extended hours as well as on Sundays. They can be found at the locations listed below.  The website is only in Finnish.


Mannerheimintie 5 / Kaivopiha
00100 Helsinki
Avoinna joka päivä klo 7-24

Mannerheimintie 96,
00250 Helsinki
Aina avoinna

Ala-Malmintori 5 2. krs,
00700 Helsinki
Avoinna joka päivä 8-21

Diakonissalaitos, Alppikatu 2,
00530 Helsinki
Avoinna arkisin klo 9-18, lauantaisin klo 9-12

Viikintori 3 (Prismakeskus) (8.11. 2007 alkaen)
00790 Helsinki
Avoinna arkisin 8-21, la 8-18 ja su 12-21 (kauppojen sunnuntaiaukioloaikoina)

Koskikatu 7,
80100 Joensuu
Avoinna joka päivä klo 8-23

Kauppakatu 39,
40100 Jyväskylä
Avoinna joka päivä klo 8-23

Puistokatu 4,
40100 Jyväskylä
Avoinna arkisin klo 8-19, lauantaisin 9-15

Pohjoisrantakatu 14,
94100 Kemi
Avoinna joka päivä klo 8-21

Aleksanterinkatu 13,
15110 Lahti
Avoinna joka päivä klo 7-23

Valtakatu 37,
53100 Lappeenranta
Avoinna joka päivä klo 8-22

Isokatu 27,
90100 Oulu
Avoinna joka päivä klo 8-23

Isolinnankatu 21,
28100 Pori
Avoinna joka päivä klo 8-22

Vilhonkatu 14,
24240 Salo
Avoinna joka päivä klo 8.30-21

Olavinkatu 56,
57100 Savonlinna
Avoinna joka päivä klo 8.30-22

Hämeenkatu 16,
33200 Tampere
Avoinna joka päivä klo 7-24

Yliopistonkatu 25,
20100 Turku
Avoinna joka päivä klo 8-2

Update 20/05/2008


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