Health care in Finland

Toiminnot

Health services are available to all in Finland, regardless of their financial situation. Public health services are mainly financed from tax revenue.


The aims of Finnish health policy are to lengthen the active and healthy years of its citizens, to improve quality of life, and to diminish differences in health regionally and between population groups. Prevention is given particular emphasis in primary health care.

Practice of medicine by foreign doctors

Everyone coming to Finland to work from outside the European Union must obtain a residence permit if her or his employment is to last longer than three months. The permit is granted by the police department in the place of residence. 

Citizens of EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland have the right to reside, work or practice a profession in Finland for three months without a residence permit. If the stay lasts longer than that, they must however register their right to reside in Finland at a police department. Citizens of the countries listed above do not need work permits.

Valvira is the licensing and supervising authority

The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira) grants, upon application, the right to practise as a licensed doctor in Finland. Valvira assesses and aproves the academic qualifications of health care professionals and recognises degrees. Licence administration constitutes the basis for proactive supervision and guidance.

Any person practising as a healthcare professional in Finland without a licence may be sentenced to a fine or imprisonment.

All doctors working in Finland need an identification code, which is issued by Valvira. The identification code must be written or stamped on prescriptions and other documents.

Doctors from within the EU or European Economic Area (EEA)

Doctors from within the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) can obtain a licence to practise medicine in Finland on the basis of EU directives concerning the free movement of doctors and mutual recognition of diplomas.

The licencing of doctors from within the EU and EEA does not require a demonstration of language proficiency, but employers such as municipalities may require certificates relating to linguistic skills. Treating patients would be difficult without a working knowledge of Finnish.

Doctors from outside the EU or EEA 

Doctors from outside the EU or EEA must complete an internship and take a test as mandated by Valvira to ensure that their qualification is equivalent to medical training in Finland. Citizens of non-EU/EEA member states need to present Valvira with an official language certificate that verifies they have satisfactory skills in Finnish or Swedish.

Further information can be found on Valvira’s website.

Physicians in the Nordic Countries

Physicians in the Nordic Countries 2016 (pdf)