Finland healthcare is considered to be one of the finest in the world, alongside its Nordic neighbors Sweden, Denmark and Norway.
The advanced healthcare system is distributed into three levels managed and funded by the local municipalities.
The primary level consists of district health centers which employ general practitioners and nurses. They provide for the basic medical services such as examinations and screening for infectious diseases, health counseling, dental work, and child and maternal care.
Secondary healthcare is offered by district hospitals. If a health problem couldn’t be properly treated at a local center, patients are sent to district hospitals where services with some degree of specialization are available.
The tertiary level of Finland’s healthcare comprise of university teaching hospitals. These hospitals provide highly specialized care in particular areas like orthopedics, epilepsy, rheumatism, or plastic surgery. Located in the major cities of Finland, these hospitals are the learning ground for the country’s medical practitioners. Aside from possessing the most advanced medical facilities in the nation, Finland healthcare has a centralized data source regarding all patient information which can be accessed by computer.
Alongside this, the private sector, although small, contributes 4% of medical care to hospital patients. The main fields practiced by private hospitals are dentistry, physiology and occupational health services. Speaking of which, employees are given occupational healthcare services by their employers as necessitated by law. Schools are also obliged to provide the same for their students and staff.
Finland healthcare services are available to all, regardless of their income. Because of Primary Health Care Act of 1972, public health services are paid for from tax revenues. Municipal financial resources (plus subsidies from the national government) pay for two-thirds of all medical expenses and the rest is by the national insurance system. This insurance could either be nationally sponsored, funded by a patient’s employer, or by the patient himself.
Another incredible aspect of Finland’s healthcare is Patient’s Injury Law. It protects patients’ rights to compensation when an unanticipated injury happens due to medical treatment. It also protects medical practitioners from legal action thus, also preventing the development of defensive medical practices. The Finnish Law on the Status and Right’s of a Patient is the first such law in Europe that was passed to guarantee a patient’s right to information, informed consent to treatment, access to necessary medical documents, and autonomy. The Patient Injury Law also dictates the time frame a patient be allowed access to important medical care. However, these are just guidelines by medical experts and doctors are free to decide how to treat their patients.
The consequences of the exceptional quality of Finland’s healthcare can be seen through the health of its citizens.
The child mortality rate is one of the lowest in the world. The life expectancy for females is 81 years, and for men 73 years.
Death due to cardiovascular disease has decreased as a result of effective health and nutritional education in recent decades. Smoking and drug abuse have also significantly lessened. Communicable diseases are no longer a problem as immunization programs have reduced the frequency of measles, mumps, and German measles. HIV infections have also been curbed.