Healthcare in Finland

Each country's health system is different and might not include all the things you would expect to get free of charge from the NHS. This means you may have to make a patient contribution to the cost of your care.

Visitors to Finland

Finding help in an emergency

If you find yourself in a serious or life-threatening emergency or you need an ambulance, dial 112. Calls are free of charge from any phone, including mobile phones.

When you call emergency services in Finland, you will have to provide the following information:

  • your name
  • what has happened
  • where it has happened
  • if there are other people in danger

For more information, read the leaflet How to use emergency number 112 in Finland (PDF, 166kb). Other important phone numbers to note down:

  • 112 – police and fire brigade
  • 118 – telephone directory (for general information and help finding local health centres or pharmacies)
  • (0)9 736 166 – find dental services (9am to 9pm)

State healthcare services are provided by municipal health centres. Most municipals provide a 24-hour helpline if you need information about health, illnesses or healthcare services. The service is run by experienced medical professionals, such as nurses. If you are visiting Helsinki, call (0)9 310 10023. You'll be charged the local standard rate of a phone call.

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

Emergency medical care is provided to anyone requiring urgent attention. You can expect to be charged in full for any care provided without an EHIC. You should always buy enough travel insurance and make sure you have access to funding to cover any medical treatment abroad. Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork (make copies if necessary) as they might be needed by you or your insurance company to apply for any refund.

Currently, your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) enables you to access the necessary state-provided healthcare in Finland at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free, if you are staying there temporarily. If you are asked to pay for health services upfront, it is likely that you are not being treated under the state health system.

EHIC does not cover certain costs, including:

  • private treatment
  • being brought back to the UK
  • mountain rescue services
  • cruises

It's important that you ensure you're treated by a healthcare provider in the state system as you won't be covered for private healthcare.

You should be particularly careful if healthcare arrangements are made by a hotel or travel representative. Any costs incurred for private healthcare are non-refundable.

Provisional replacement certificate (PRC)

A PRC is a certificate demonstrating a person's entitlement to EHIC. If you need healthcare but do not have your EHIC with you, you can call Overseas Healthcare Services and ask them to send a PRC to show to the hospital. This will avoid you being directly charged.

Contact Overseas Healthcare Services:

UK: 0191 218 1999
Outside UK: +44 191 218 1999
(Open Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm, UK time)

People with pre-existing health conditions

If you have a pre-existing health condition, you should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Finland. You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, to make sure you can get the cover you need. If you have an EHIC, this will be valid until the UK leaves the EU but may not work after that.

If you have a pre-existing condition that will need treatment while abroad, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel. Make sure you take with you any documents about your health condition or medication.

If you are travelling for the express purpose of obtaining medical treatment, see our section about seeking medical treatment in Europe.

Dentists

The Finnish word for dentists is hammaslääkäri. If you need dental treatment during your stay because of illness or an accident, you should contact a local health centre. You'll have to present a valid EHIC or your Kela card to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident.

Most health centres charge €10.20 for a basic visit and then charge for additional treatments according to a fixed scale of charges (usually less than €150). Not all health centres maintain a 24-hour dental service.

If you have a dental emergency on a weeknight or bank holiday while in Helsinki, you should visit the Haartman Hospital Dental Clinic (weeknights from 4pm to 9pm, or weekends and bank holidays 8am to 9pm). For more information, including a list of criteria for dental emergencies, visit the City of Helsinki website.

Hospitals

The Finnish word for hospital is sairaala. Just like in the UK, you'll need a doctor's referral for non-emergency hospital treatment. The Choosing Healthcare in Finland website offers contact details of public hospital districts in English, as well as other essential information about using healthcare services in Finland.

When you're admitted to hospital, you'll need to present either a valid EHIC to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident.

Hospital fees are:

  • inpatient care – €22.80-€50 a day
  • outpatient care – €41.70
  • day surgery – around €136.80, but can be less

There is no reimbursement in respect of the basic daily charge.

Prescriptions

The Finnish word for pharmacy is apteekki. You can take your Finnish-issued prescription to any pharmacy, but you'll have to pay the full price of the medicine. You may be asked to show your EHIC.

A well-known pharmacy chain is Yliopiston Apteekki, which has longer opening hours and operates on Sundays.

A pharmacist may ask you if you prefer the original medicine or a generic version. Generic medicines are the same as original medicines but under a different name, and are often cheaper to buy. It is entirely up to you to decide whether to buy the medication the doctor has prescribed or the generic alternative.

Bringing your own medicines to Finland

Some prescribed medicines contain drugs that are controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation in the UK. This means that extra legal controls apply to these medicines.

You may need a personal licence to take controlled medicines abroad.

Specific requirements also apply to:

  • the information that you must take with you
  • how you carry your controlled medicines

You can visit the GOV.UK website for more information about travelling with controlled medicines.

After the UK leaves the EU

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, your access to healthcare when visiting Finland is likely to change. If you are planning to visit Finland after the UK leaves the EU, you should continue to buy travel insurance so you can get the healthcare treatment you need, just as you would if visiting a non-EU country. If you are using an EHIC issued by the UK, this will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

The UK government is seeking agreements with countries, including Finland, on healthcare arrangements for UK nationals after the UK leaves the EU.

This guide will be updated with further information on travelling to Finland as the circumstances change.

Working in Finland

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

If you are living and working in Finland, you should be issued with a Kela card which gives you access to all social security offerings including healthcare, giving you the same access to healthcare as Finnish citizens.

If you are a worker posted by a UK company to Finland, you may be entitled to health cover funded by the UK in the country you are posted to. Contact HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for more details:

National Insurance Contributions and Employer Office
HM Revenue and Customs
BX9 1AN
United Kingdom

  • Telephone: 0300 200 3500
  • Outside UK: +44 191 203 7010
  • Opening times: 8.30am to 5pm, Monday to Friday – closed weekends and bank holidays

For more information, see Planning your healthcare when moving abroad.

After the UK leaves the EU

If you are resident in Finland, you should be issued with a Kela card. This card will give you access to all social security offerings. If you are not insured with Kela, or privately, you will still be attended to, but you will be charged in full for your treatment.

If you do not have residence, you are likely to need to apply for a permit. Permits for an employed person costs €450 (electronic version) or €520 (paper version). Extensions cost €200 in either version. It is recommended that you take out private healthcare insurance until you are covered by the state system.

If you are a UK posted worker, you are likely to need to buy into the state system (if permissible), and obtain a Kela card, to continue to receive the healthcare you need on the same terms as a Finnish national. Alternatively, you may need to obtain private healthcare insurance.

Pensioners in Finland

Healthcare up until the UK leaves the EU

If you live in Finland and receive an exportable UK State Pension, contribution-based Employment Support Allowance or another exportable benefit, you may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK.

You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.

You may need to liaise with a different team, depending on the exportable benefit. Further information is available under Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on the GOV.UK website. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

S1 certificate (formerly known as E106)

An S1 certificate helps you and your dependants access healthcare in the Finland. If you have an S1 certificate, it will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.

After this date, the certificate may not be valid, depending on decisions by member states.

You should continue to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU.

You may be eligible for an S1 certificate, if you:

  • have worked and paid contributions in the UK
  • receive some UK benefits such as pensions

Apply through the Business Services Authority for an S1 certificate.

For exportable UK pensions and contribution-based Employment Support Allowance, you can apply for your certificate via the International Pension Centre in the Department for Work and Pensions on 0191 218 7777.

Further information is available under Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on the GOV.UK website. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.

After the UK leaves the EU

If you are resident in Finland, you should be issued with a Kela card. This card will give you access to all social security offerings.

If you do not have residency, you will need to apply. You may get a permanent residence permit if you have lived in Finland continuously for four years with a continuous residence permit.

If you are not insured with Kela, or privately, you will still be attended to, but you will be charged in full for your treatment.

Students in Finland

Until the UK leaves the EU, if you are going to study or are currently studying in Finland as part of a UK-recognised course, you may be entitled to healthcare paid for by the UK government. You and any dependants will need an EHIC. The Government always advises UK citizens to take out travel insurance when going overseas, both to EU and non-EU destinations.

After the UK leaves the EU, you are likely to need to apply for a student residency permit. You should continue to buy travel insurance and ensure that any insurance product you buy has the necessary healthcare coverage to ensure you can get any treatment you might require.

Page last reviewed: 28/01/2019
Next review due: 28/01/2022