Health care in Finland: better be healthy or wealthy


I am angry today. I have just realised how huge a soap bubble the welfare state is. I have realised that without money from gambling being pumped into social services and the pressure to buy private health care, this system would fall like a house of cards. We have old hospitals in Slovakia. You need to bring even your toilet paper with you and generally speaking the behaviour of medical professionals towards patients is as much without the human touch as possible. But we don’t pretend. We know it is shit, but at least we don’t sell it as roses.

I live in the small municipality of Tuusula. Luckily we are healthy people without the need to visit health services. But my daughter got sick on Friday. Fever and other connected things. We hoped to manage as usual, but the fever was jumping up and down this time. Coughing has gotten worse day by day. On Monday I called our health centre for the first time. No one was available, so I register my wish for calling back. Tuesday passed and no one called. Today my daughter’s cough was even worse and after a day without fever, she had again higher temperature. I called the health care centre, but no success again. I registered my wish for calling back repeatedly. Then I started to search for more information with the hope of somehow contacting the health care centre through online services. Nothing worked. 

Yes, Finland is fancy. We have different online tools and web pages where you can do your assessments, but please tell me what I can do if I have a sick child who is not in an emergency state? From Keusote page I checked and opened everything that looked at least somehow useful:

  1. Omakanta: useless. You can’t do anything just to check your medical records.
  2. Tuusulan sähköinen asionti (Tuusula’s electronic transaction): useless. You can only make an appointment for flu vaccination.
  3. Omaolo: useless. Obviously, it does not work for people younger than 15 years. 
  4. Contact your caregiver: Useless. First of all, I don’t know who our personal caregiver is and I don’t know where I can find this information. Secondly, I was so angry that I called one by one and no one answered my phone call. 

So, I tried 5 different ways how to make it to the appointment with medical personnel within 3 days. I haven’t succeeded. The only thing that I could do, was to come in person, which is not allowed anymore… My child was still worse, but not bad enough to go to urgent health care. And not good enough to just have it under the control at home with hot tea. 

I didn’t have another choice but to contact a private health care provider. We had an appointment in 1,5 hours and it cost me 159€. The daughter has acute laryngitis and she needed antibiotics and other medications. They cost an additional almost 60€. Please tell me, what do people who cannot pay such money for private health care? How it is possible that the municipality where I live and pay my taxes is not able to provide basic health care? And not only provide but is not able even to answer calls and properly design their tools? How do deal with such situations people without digital skills? How they can even get in touch with someone responsible? 

Tuusula, shame on you! The Finnish health care system sucks. And please stop talking about “hyvinvointi” when you can’t provide basic check-ups free of charge. Maybe invest less money into the development of useless online tools and invest more into salaries for people. And hire service designers!

And this is only the first of my split of bitterness. I will send an official complaint to my city. Maybe be even dare and attach also the invoice for reimbursement. Because nothing makes me angrier than people who pretend. When it smells, it’s most probably a shit. 

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