On this page you'll find information on the healthcare access you're entitled to and how to get it whether you're:
- moving to, or already living in Finland (including students)
- visiting Finland (for example, on holiday)
Your options for accessing healthcare in Finland may change after Brexit.
You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances to prepare if you are moving to, visiting or living in Finland.
Living in Finland after Brexit
You should be ready for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national living in Finland.
You should review your access to healthcare now. There may be a gap or permanent change in how you access healthcare if there is no deal and no agreements with Finland in place.
For example, if you are a current S1 form holder, or a posted worker or student using a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you will not be able to rely on these to access your healthcare as you do now.
The Finnish government has published legislation governing the rights of UK nationals in Finland if there is a no-deal Brexit.
It states that UK nationals who are lawfully residing in Finland before the withdrawal date will be guaranteed residence rights until 31 December 2020, if they register their residency before exit.
As healthcare in Finland is residency-based, there should be no change to healthcare benefits to UK nationals who register before Brexit.
You need to make the best decisions for your circumstances and consider:
- registering to live in Finland
- buying comprehensive health insurance while you are applying for residency or if you are not eligible for local schemes
If you are a UK posted worker, you are likely to need to buy into the state system if you are eligible.
You will get a Kela card, which will allow continue to receive the healthcare you need on the same terms as a Finnish national.
Or you may need to consider getting private healthcare insurance.
Make sure you have all the right documentation and it is up to date.
You should not expect to be able to use NHS services for free when visiting the UK if you are living in Finland and are not currently eligible for a UK-issued S1 form or EHIC.
You should take out appropriate travel insurance when visiting the UK, as you would when visiting any other country.
You may use NHS services in England, Scotland and Wales without charge, when visiting the UK after exit day if you are living in Finland before exit day and you:
- have a UK-issued S1 form
- have a UK-issued EHIC
- would have been eligible for the UK to fund your healthcare access, if exit day had not occurred
If you return to the UK permanently and meet the ordinarily resident test, you will be able to access NHS care without charge.
Visiting Finland after Brexit
You should prepare for possible changes to your access to healthcare if there is a no-deal Brexit and you are a UK national travelling to Finland.
UK-issued EHICs will still be valid until the UK leaves the EU.
Your EHIC may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Finland and might mean you need to pay in full for your treatment.
Check your insurance has the necessary healthcare cover to ensure you can get any treatment you might need.
If you have any pre-existing health conditions, talk with your GP and insurer about how to get the right cover, and how this affects your travel.
This guide will be updated when there is more information on travelling to or living in Finland after Brexit.
Healthcare in Finland until the UK leaves the EU
Finding help in an emergency
If you have a serious or life-threatening emergency or you need an ambulance, dial 112. Calls are free of charge.
Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance if you’re planning to visit Finland.
The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive travel insurance when going overseas.
Your EHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.
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.
Your EHIC enables you to access necessary state-provided healthcare in Finland at a reduced cost, or sometimes for free, if you are staying there temporarily.
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.
Make sure you're treated by a healthcare provider in the state system as you will not be covered for private healthcare with an EHIC.
Remember to keep all receipts and any paperwork.
Pre-existing health conditions
You should buy medical travel insurance before visiting Finland if you have a pre-existing health condition.
You must tell the insurance company about any pre-existing health conditions you have, so that you can get the cover you need.
If you have a pre-existing condition that will need treatment while abroad, ask your doctor in the UK for advice before you travel.
Take any documents about your health condition or medication with you.
If you have an EHIC, this will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.
Your EHIC may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Finland and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.
If you are travelling to have planned medical treatment, read our guide to seeking medical treatment in Europe.
You should contact a local health centre if you need dental treatment during your stay because of illness or an accident.
You'll have to present a valid EHIC 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.
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 a valid EHIC to receive treatment at the same cost as a resident.
Hospital fees are:
- €22.80 to €50 a day for inpatient care
- €41.70 for outpatient care
- around €136.80 for day surgery, but it can be less
There is no reimbursement in respect of the basic daily charge.
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 your choice 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 additional legal controls apply to these medicines.
You may need a personal license to take controlled medicines abroad.
Specific requirements also apply to:
- the information that you must take with you
- how you carry your controlled medicines
Visit GOV.UK for more information about travelling with controlled medicines.
Living in Finland
You should be issued with a Kela card if you are living and working in Finland. This gives you access to all social security offerings including healthcare, giving you the same access to healthcare as Finnish citizens.
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.
You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Finland and receive:
- an exportable UK State Pension
- a contribution-based Employment Support Allowance
- another exportable benefit
You will need to apply for a certificate of entitlement known as an S1 certificate.
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.
You may be eligible for an S1 certificate, if you:
- receive certain UK benefits, such as a UK State Pension
- are employed by a UK body or firm (you are a posted or frontier worker)
- are a dependant of someone who has an S1 certificate
It is possible to apply for an S1 certificate until the UK leaves the EU. You can apply for an S1 certificate through the NHS Business Services Authority.
Make sure you have all the right documentation and that it is up to date.
If you receive a UK State Pension, you can apply for your certificate via the Overseas Healthcare Service on +44 (0) 191 218 1999 (option 5).
The certificate may not be valid if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Finland and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.
For other exportable benefits, you may need to liaise with a different team depending on the exportable benefit.
You can find more information under Claiming benefits if you live, move or travel abroad on GOV.UK. Please note that different exportable benefits can have different rules in terms of healthcare cover.
Working in Finland
If you are living and working in Finland, you should be issued with a Kela card.
This gives you access to all social security offerings including healthcare, giving you the same access to healthcare as Finnish citizens.
UK posted workers
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.
You can find out more from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC):
Students in Finland
If you are a UK resident and studying in Finland, your UK-issued EHIC will be valid until the UK leaves the EU.
Your EHIC may not be valid after exit day if there is a no-deal Brexit. This will depend on whether the UK has an arrangement with Finland and might mean you need to pay in full for treatment.
The government always advises UK nationals to take out comprehensive insurance when going overseas. Your EHIC is not an alternative to insurance and you should have both when you travel abroad.
After the UK leaves the EU, you are likely to need to apply for a student residency permit.
For more information about healthcare when living abroad, read our guide on planning your healthcare when moving abroad.
Page last reviewed: 28 August 2019
Next review due: 28 August 2022