Occupational healthcare in the health and social services reform

Most employed persons are provided with health services as occupational healthcare at the expense of their employer. There will not be a change to this from the current situation.  As a new feature, the responsibility for arranging preventive occupational healthcare services will shift from municipalities to counties on 1 January 2020.

This change aims at the integration of occupational healthcare, i.e. the harmonisation of primary healthcare, specialised medical care, social services and rehabilitation services. Occupational healthcare has a special role and expertise in the assessment, maintenance and restoration of work capacity.

The county will have two separate responsibilities for organising occupational healthcare and different alternatives for providing the services:

  1. providing individuals employed in places of work based in their 
    area with access to preventive occupational healthcare (section 18 of the Health Care Act)
  • in its own range of services. In this case, the county must incorporate the activities if it provides both preventive services in accordance with section 12, and medical care services and other healthcare services in accordance with section 14, of the Occupational Health Care Act. The county does not need to incorporate the services under section 12 if it only provides the services.
  • by purchasing them from other service providers (competitive tendering).

  2. arranging occupational healthcare to its employees in its role as an employer (section 4 of the Occupational Health Care Act).

  • in its own range of services (requires a permit from the supervisory authority)
  • by providing the services together with one or more other counties or municipalities
  • by purchasing the services from other service providers (competitive tendering).

In providing services for its own employees (on its own or together with others), the county is not required to incorporate its activities even in providing services under section 14 of the Occupational Health Care Act. Even in this case, the county may, under the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts, sell some of the services, although the amount of these is very insignificant.

Temporary representatives of occupational healthcare

Associations representing different professional groups and service providers of occupational health care have made arrangements on temporary representatives of occupational health care in the counties in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health. These persons have made a pledge to represent occupational healthcare providers in the county's area until official representatives of occupational healthcare have been selected.

Support for service provision at the county level

Information kits have been prepared for each county to help them in providing occupational health care at the county level. The information kits include available statistical data on the working-aged population in the county, their needs, employers in the county, and the occupational healthcare providers operating in the country's area and their clientèle. The information kits also include the key legislation for decision-making and information on the different alternatives for organising and proving occupational healthcare as well as their consequences. The information kits are available at the website of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.


Kristiina Mukala, Ministerial Counsellor, Health/Medical Affairs, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163325