Freedom of choice for clients

New legislation on freedom of choice will be one part of the health and social services reform. This way clients can choose between public, private or third sector service providers. The legislation aims to ensure that freedom of choice will increase the client's possibilities of exerting influence, speed up access to services as well as improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of services.

Freedom of choice will henceforth be the main principle at the basic service level. Where appropriate, the same principle will also be used in specialised health and social services. Freedom of choice will be guaranteed for clients by bringing in uniform quality principles for services and by disseminating public information that helps people make their choices about the services.

Goverment policy outlines

On 21 December 2016, the Government published a draft of the legislation detailing how clients will be able to select from among the health and social services that are within the scope of freedom of choice. The client can sign up as a client of the social and health centre they wish as well as select the dental care unit they prefer. Social and health centres and dental care units will produce services independently or in a networked manner. They could also grant their clients service vouchers for individual services from a service provider selected by the client. Additionally, the client may also select the service point that they use for county-produced services, such as a hospital. The service voucher and a personal budget would be in use on the basis of an assessment of service needs by the county, and, based on these, the client could select a service provider. More information on government bill 21.12.2016


Law drafting governing freedom of choice is proceeding as outlined by the Government and is on schedule. It will proceed so that the Government’s proposal will be presented to Parliament in the spring of 2017. 


Under-Secretary of State Tuomas Pöysti, tel. +358 2951 63012
Head od Department Outi Antila, tel +358 2951 63164