Health and social services centres and oral healthcare

Any operator can sign up as service providers to publicly funded health and social services centres and oral health units if they meet the required criteria and are registered service providers. The service providers need to have sufficient economic capacity and professionally competent personnel.

In publicly funded health and social services centres and oral health units, services can be offered by an unincorporated county enterprise, county-owned company, private enterprises or organisations and communities. The freedom-of-choice model calls these services as direct-choice services because people can sign up directly as clients to a health and social services centre or dental clinic.

Providers must meet the requirements set by the county

The county will conclude contracts with service providers who meet the requirements. The service providers must also provide a security accepted by the county. The county may also require certification.

A health and social services centre and oral health unit provider may provide these services themselves, conclude contracts with other providers, or outsource the services to another service provider. Even in this case, the health and social services centre or oral health unit will always be responsible for the service package of the individual client as well as for the quality and cost of the services.

Health and social services centres and dental clinics must provide their clients with the whole selection of services required by the government proposal for an Act on Clients' Freedom of Choice in Healthcare and Social Welfare. In addition, service providers may specialise in providing services to specified client groups in the way they choose. Service providers are liable for any errors caused by their service provision and for rectifying them at their own cost.

Services in Finnish and Swedish in bilingual municipalities

In bilingual municipalities, the health and social services centres and oral health units must serve clients both in Finnish and Swedish. The county may grant an exception to this rule upon request if the region in question has an adequate number of units, among which clients can choose and where they can use their mother tongue.

Health and social services centres and oral health units must work together with the county and municipality of their operating area to promote wellbeing and health.

The Act on Organising Healthcare and Social Welfare Services will lay down that service providers have an obligation to offer training and internships to health and social sector students.

Inquiries:

Kirsi Varhila, Director-General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 338
Riitta-Maija Jouttimäki, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 383
Pirjo Kainulainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. + 358 295 163 092