Patient's Freedom of Choice

Access to specialised medical care requires a referral from a doctor at the patient's own basic health care unit, occupational health care or private health center. Patients can choose their own treatment locations together with the referring doctor without any regional limitations from among all municipal specialised medical care units. This freedom of choice applies not only to Finns, but also to the citizens of the EU and EEA Member States, and Switzerland.

Main principles of the freedom of choice

  • The treating doctor makes the decision to refer the patient for specialised medical care and assesses the level of care the patient requires. The patient cannot choose the level of the treatment, for example, university hospital level treatment if the illness does not warrant treatment at such a level.
  • The referred patient can select the treatment location together with the referring doctor.
  • Patients, within reason, have the right to select their doctor or other health care professional. In addition, whenever possible with regard to further treatment, the patient should be directed to the doctor or dentist who treated them previously.
  • Customers can select the specialised medical care treatment location from their home country or other EU country but the maximum travel compensation is limited to the cost of travel that would be incurred from the trip to the nearest university hospital.
  • Since the beginning of 2014, citizens of other EU countries, EEA states and Switzerland can use Finnish public health care services and must be provided access to treatment in public health care in the same manner as Finnish nationals. Treatment is provided according to Finnish legislation and treatment practices.