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Treatment guarantee and waiting times

The time within which you must get access to non-urgent care and treatment is laid down in law.
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Photo: Laura Oja

The Finnish Health Care Act specifies the time within which you must get access to non-urgent care and treatment. This is called a treatment guarantee.  

  • You must be able to contact a health centre immediately during its opening hours. 
  • Once you have contacted a health centre, a healthcare professional must assess your need for treatment on the third subsequent weekday at the latest. 
  • Treatment must be provided to you at a health station within three months. 
  • Dental care must be provided to you within six months. 
  • If it is found during health examinations that you require hospital care, specialised healthcare services must assess your situation within three weeks of your case being referred to the hospital, and treatment must be provided to you within six months. 

If you require urgent treatment, you can go to an emergency service point for immediate first aid and treatment. 

Waiting times at the City of Helsinki’s services

Our health stations offer a callback service. In March 2021, the average time it took for us to call our clients back was 2 hours and 17 minutes. 

We usually assess the need for treatment immediately either by phone or in person at the location, which is why the waiting time for an assessment is less than three days. More than one in two patients receive an appointment for the same day. 

We use the ‘T3 indicator’ to monitor the waiting times for non-urgent doctor’s appointments. These waiting times are counted in calendar days, based on the third available appointment time slot. A health station’s T3 indicator is the median of these waiting times. Urgent appointments are not included in the calculation of the T3 indicator. 

T3 - waiting times at health stations, indicated in days
Health station 1 February 2021 1 March 2021 12 April 2021
Haaga 30 30 42
Jakomäki 14 8

23

Kalasatama 42 42 25
Kannelmäki 16 22 42
Kivelä - - 42
Kivikko 42 42 42
Kontula 42 21 42
Laajasalo 25 42 21
Laakso corona health station corona health station Kivelä as of 29 March 2021
Lauttasaari 21 21

42

Malmi 15 15 17
Malminkartano 27 41

35

Maunula 18 8 7
Munkkiniemi 42 42 32
Myllypuro 42 42 42
Oulunkylä 11 10 7
Paloheinä 33 23 16
Pihlajamäki 10 9 11
Pitäjänmäki 42 42 42
Puistola 17 23 39
Suutarila 21 15 36
Töölö 42 42 Kivelä as of 29 March 2021
Viiskulma 42 42 42
Vuosaari 42 28 42
Terveysasemien keskiarvo 29 28 31

Please note! Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the T3 waiting times do not fully reflect the current situation.

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We generally assess our clients’ need for oral healthcare by phone. The waiting time for an assessment is less than three days. Once your need for treatment has been assessed, non-urgent treatment will be provided within three months.

The coronavirus pandemic has put a strain on oral healthcare. We are currently working on clearing our treatment backlog in many ways. For many of our adult clients, we offer an opportunity to use a service voucher to pay for treatment at a private clinic.

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In the City of Helsinki’s specialised healthcare services, we generally start the assessment of the client’s need for treatment within three days of receiving the referral.

In April 2021, the median waiting time for internal medicine outpatient clinics was 36 days. Everyone generally received treatment within three months.

The median waiting time for psychiatric outpatient clinics was 37 days. Everyone generally received treatment in less than three months.

Most of the City of Helsinki’s specialised healthcare services are provided by the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS). See the HUS website for information on the waiting times for each specialist field.

Access to treatment in specialist medical care (HUS)

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We publish the information on the waiting times for services intended for the elderly three times a year. The waiting time starts when the elderly person submits a service application and ends when they receive the services they applied for. 

We monitor the waiting times for 24-hour care and day activities for the elderly.

  • In November 2021, the median waiting time for long-term 24-hour care was 40 days. 49 people had been waiting for the service over three months (target time is 90 days). In October 2021, 126 positive and 5 negative decisions were madeLong-term 24-hour care includes intensive assisted living services and care in a nursing home.  
  • Because of the coronavirus pandemic, our daytime activity centres have been closed since March 2020. The waiting times for the day activities are published at the start of 2022.
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