Finland has reinvented itself in just one short century – and we’re still at it. Our national character and Northern heritage have boosted us to the top of all kinds of country rankings. In many respects, Finnish healthcare is state-of-the-art among the OECD countries. The scope, accessibility and quality of health care services have been developed systematically over the last decades and reforming the structure and content of social welfare and health care services is one of society’s most important goals in the coming years.
A SYSTEM COVERING
THE ENTIRE NATION
As there are only five million of us, we can’t afford to leave anyone behind. That’s why world-class health care is available for all. The Finnish healthcare system provides comprehensive, high-quality healthcare ranging from primary to specialised medical care – and from care for newborns to services for the elderly.
Health promotion and disease prevention are the primary goals of Finnish health policy. The Finnish healthcare system is based on preventive health care and well-run, comprehensive health services.
Municipalities are responsible for organising and financing health care. A municipality can choose to organise healthcare services by providing them itself or in collaboration with other municipalities or purchasing services from organisations or from private companies.
Public healthcare is complemented by a number of private providers of specialised medical care, such as top-class specialists available to international patients travelling to receive care in Finland, or providers of state-of-the-art cancer treatment.
SOME OF THE PUBLIC HEALTHCARE SERVICES
Health centres often have a ward for patients requiring nursing care
- Health counselling, including health education, contraception advice, maternity and child welfare and medical examinations
- Screening and vaccinations
- Oral health services
- School and student healthcare
- Mental health services
- Emergency treatment, emergency cases also handled by hospitals
- Home care services
Public healthcare in Finland is not free but charges are very low, since the system is mainly tax-funded.
PUBLIC HEALTHCARE MILESTONES
1922 FIRST “NEUVOLA” CHILD HEALTH CLINIC IS ESTABLISHED
The first maternity and child health clinics were established in the 1920s thus contributing to the health and wellbeing of Finnish families. Maternity packages were distributed for the first time in 1938. The package provides families with products making it easier to look after their baby and is aimed to give every baby an equal start in life.
1972 MUNICIPALITIES PROVIDE BASIC HEALTH CARE
As of 1972, municipalities have been obliged to provide basic health care. People residing permanently in Finland have the right to receive such healthcare their medical condition requires. Today, Finnish healthcare ranks among the best and most egalitarian in the world. Systematic development and improvement of healthcare services continues.
Finnish healthcare achieves world-class results in many areas, such as the effectiveness of specialised medical care, reducing cancer mortality, and in screening and vaccination coverage.
- the life expectancy of newborn males in Finland was 79.2 years and, for newborn females, was 84.5 years.
- the perinatal death rate was 3.9/1,000 children.
- the overall fertility rate was 1.35.
- vaccination coverage for small children was about 95 %.
- Finnish healthcare spending amounted to EUR 21.1 billion or 9.0 per cent of gross domestic product and around EUR 3,829 per capita.
THE BEST COUNTRY
IN THE WORLD
In May 2015, Save the Children announced that Finland was the second best country in the world in which to be a mother, based on key criteria such as maternal health and the child’s wellbeing, as well as the mother’s educational, economic and political status: “Save the Children released its 15th annual “State of the World’s Mothers” report today, revealing the best and toughest places to be a mom. Finland tops the report’s 2014 Mothers’ Index.” Save the Children went on to state that Finland is a country, “where maternal deaths affect less than one in 12,000 women, and the probability of a child dying before the age of five is one in 345.”
This tremendous performance is due to decades of systematic development of comprehensive coverage by child health clinics. The result has been a drop in infant mortality rates from 95 per 1,000 children dying before the age of five in 1936, to just 3.9 by 2019.
WORLD-FAMOUS MATERNITY PACKAGE FOR ALL
Finland is also known for its so-called maternity package, in which the state sends every expectant mother clothes and other necessities such as quilts, nappies, towels and clothing for new-borns. Even the British royal family have received this handy package, when Finnish officials sent one to Prince William and Duchess Catherine upon the birth of their son George in 2013. In Finland, the package is viewed as a symbol of the country’s egalitarian culture and the belief that everyone is entitled to the best possible start in life