Finland’s public healthcare is top quality and everyone is entitled to healthcare services. The accessibility and low costs of healthcare are often factors that surprise those moving to the country from elsewhere. In exchange for taxes, residents here receive an immense number of cost-free healthcare services, from laboratory studies and x-rays to contraceptive counselling. And from rehabilitation to medical tools.
According to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, the cost of seeing a doctor at health centres and specialised healthcare and oral health visits in the capital region are the lowest in the country. As an example, a doctor’s visit at a public health centre is free, a dentist can fix a cavity for 15 euros, and a day surgery operation such as an adenoid or tonsil operation costs 130 euros.
The price of a major operation or childbirth for a customer can be under 50 euros.
The customer charges within the public healthcare system have an annual payment ceiling of 638 euros. Nobody is forced to sell their house in Finland in order to meet healthcare costs.
Helsinki also offers top-level treatment in different illnesses also for children. The New Children’s Hospital was opened in 2018. It ensures first class treatment for children from newborns until the age of 15. The new children’s hospital aims to make the difficult time that is having a sick child more family-friendly: parents can stay overnight on a sofa bed in the child’s room, and there are no specific visiting hours.
Every child has a tv in the room, as well as an iPad and a way to regulate and change the colour of the lights in the room. The new children’s hospital provides treatment with very reasonable prices: for instance, a visit to a specialist doctor costs 39.20 euros.
Many private healthcare services serve to compliment public healthcare.
There are also many nonprofit social and health associations supporting the wellbeing of citizens. They can offer peer support in different life situations or for living with a certain illness.
The law ensures several weeks of summer holiday and fair work loads
Finland takes good care of employee rights. Working times, vacation days, and sick allowance are dictated by employment legislation and the collective labour agreement. A parent can stay home with a sick child under 10 for four days, during which the parent is paid a wage according to the labour agreement.
In Finland, the total working hours in a week cannot exceed eight hours a day and 40 hours a week. Annual leave is earned according to the duration of one’s employment contract, normally at 2 or 2.5 days a month. What if you fall ill during your annual leave? No worries, the annual leave can be postponed to a later day already from the first day of sickness.
In general, falling ill does not mean that one ends up in a compromised position at work. If a more serious illness makes it impossible to work for a longer period, employees can receive a sick allowance for around 60 days, sometimes even for a full year. A sick allowance is paid out for the duration of the sick leave in accordance with one’s annual income. It is illegal to terminate a work contract if the employee falls ill.
Employers need concrete reasons to lay off employees in Finland. If a person loses their job for some reason, they are always eligible for unemployment support.
The basic unemployment benefit is around 700 euros per month. There is also an opportunity to get housing support for up to 80 percent of one’s housing costs.
An unemployed person can also be eligible for an earnings-related daily allowance, which is composed of the basic daily allowance and an additional sum based on one’s earnings prior to unemployment. The earnings-related unemployment allowance represents around 55-70 percent of one’s previous income.
The Employment and Economic Development Centre offers training sessions and counselling for unemployed job-seekers along with other services.
Support in difficult times
The threshold is low in Helsinki for accessing social and healthcare services in different life situations. Mental health support for young people is seen as important. Among other initiatives, the City of Helsinki’s Youth Station offers support for young people, whether for mental health issues, substance abuse, gaming or loneliness. If a young person is mentally unwell, they will be directed to psychiatric services.
There are also services for adults who deal with substance abuse themselves or who have someone close to them who does. People have access to different ways of combating substance abuse. There are a range of services to help people in general in their everyday lives.
Individuals suffering from violence in a close relationship can receive guidance from the 24h helpline Nollalinja.
The greater Helsinki region’s shelter association Pääkaupungin turvakodit ry offers round-the-clock shelters and also works in close relationship violence prevention.
There is high focus on the wellbeing of families with children in Finland and in Helsinki. Pregnant women and adoptive parents who are permanent residents in Finland are eligible for maternity support. The options are a 170 euros cash grant or the maternity package, which includes many kinds of items and clothing for a newborn and their parent. Child health centre visits for families are voluntary and free. Whenever necessary, parents can receive counselling for psychologists or other experts in order to support their emotional wellbeing.
The City of Helsinki also offers home care services when a separation or losing a loved one takes a toll on a family, or for example if twins are born into a family. The home care services can also include support in a variety of tasks such as childcare, running errands or cleaning.
When living in Helsinki, one does not need to fear life’s surprises. The diverse services offered by the city can help one take the next steps forward and to focus on what is essential.