Health Care Guarantee

Health Care Guarantee and specialised medical care

The Act on Specialised Health Care came into force on 1st March 2005. Referrals to specialised medical care units must be assessed within three weeks (21 days). The need for treatment must be assessed, usually during a visit to an outpatient clinic, within three months (90 days) after the referral has been received. If treatment, such as surgery, is needed, the patient must receive it within six months (180 days) after the assessment. The only exception to this is child and adolescent psychiatric care (for patients under 23 years), which must be provided within three months (90 days).
When the Act on Specialised Health Care Act came into force, national guidelines on access to health care services were introduced. All levels of care are not included in the Health Care Guarantee.

For more information on Health Care Guarantee, see the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health website

Referrals are required from all patients in specialised care, excluding emergency cases. As of 1st January 2014, patients have been able to choose their place of specialised care. The referring doctor decides on the unit (hospital) the patient should be treated in with the patient. Hospitals provide patients with information on possible examinations, schedules and surgery waiting lists, if the referral allows it. In other cases, patients are invited to outpatient clinics according to the urgency of care need and within the waiting time limits.