Private health care licences

Private health care providers need a licence to provide services. Service providers can be limited companies, limited or general partnerships, cooperatives, foundations or non-governmental organisations. Service provision can only begin once a licence has been issued. Unlicensed provision of services is a criminal offence.  

Self-employed health care and nursing providers and sole traders do not need a licence but must register through the competent Regional State Administrative Agency before service provision begins.

 

Licensing

A licence is required for providing the following kinds of services, among others: 

  • laboratory analysis 
  • radiology
  • other diagnostic examinations and procedures  
  • occupational health care 
  • home-based nursing 
  • medical and dental practice 
  • nursing and midwifery 
  • practical nursing 
  • professional massage therapy 
  • paramedic services 
  • dental hygiene services 
  • specialist dental technology 
  • nutritional therapy 
  • speech therapy 
  • occupational therapy 
  • podiatry 
  • psychotherapy 
  • physiotherapy 
  • chiropractic therapy 
  • naprapathy 
  • osteopathy 
  • psychology 
  • optical services  

There are also services that can be provided by health care professionals as well as professionals in other fields who have subsequently trained in the discipline in question. Examples include music therapy, sex therapy, equine therapy, acupuncture and neuropsychiatric coaching. These services are not specified as disciplines in health care licences, and instead practitioners’ fields are always assigned based on their basic training. For example, if a registered nurse provides sex therapy, their licence will be issued for “nursing”, which covers sex therapy.   

Businesses that have been contracted or otherwise commissioned by a public-sector organisation to provide health care services also need a private health care licence. 

Health care services can only be provided by health care professionals whose details are included in the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health’s central register of health care professionals.

Businesses that only provide telemedicine services can apply for a telemedicine licence from the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health.

Health care services are services provided in the field of conventional, evidence-based medicine directly to members of the public. No licence is required for the provision of the following kinds of services:  

  • labour hire 
  • alternative medicine 
  • coordination 
  • coaching and training

You can apply for a health care licence for your business through the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health’s website. You need a Suomi.fi-identification to log in. If you are applying for a sole trader’s business identity code, choose business identity code and related authorisation in the electronic customer service.

If your business only operates in one region, your application will be processed by the competent Regional State Administrative Agency. If your business operates in multiple regions, the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health processes the application.    

The online customer service portal automatically forwards your application to the correct Regional State Administrative Agency or to the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health’s licensing department. A link to the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health’s online customer service portal is provided at the bottom of this page.

It typically takes Regional State Administrative Agencies around two months to process licence applications, so make sure to get your application in early. The processing time also depends on how carefully you fill in the application form and whether you include all the necessary supporting documents.  

Applying online speeds up the process.

A new private health care licence issued by Regional State Administrative Agencies for up to five locations costs EUR 1,200. If you provide services in more than five locations, EUR 500 is added for each new group of five locations. The corresponding decision fees for applications that are not submitted through the e-service system are EUR 1,440 and EUR 600.

A licence for a hospital or a rehabilitation facility costs EUR 3,500, and a licence for other services provided on a 24-hour basis in up to five locations costs EUR 2,000. The corresponding decision fees for applications that are not submitted through the e-service system are EUR 4 200 and EUR 1 400.

An annual fee of EUR 200 is also payable.

The charge for amending existing licences varies between EUR 240 and EUR 960. Decision fees for applications submitted in the e-service system are cheaper than for applications that are not submitted in the e-service system.

The Regional State Administrative Agencies fees are based on The Finnish Government’s decree on charges payable for services of the Regional State Administrative Agency. If you disagree with the Regional State Administrative Agency’s bill, you have six months from the date of the bill to contest it. The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health’s licensing fees are different from those of Regional State Administrative Agencies. The National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health’s fees are based on the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health’s decree on charges payable for services of the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health.

We charge the same processing fee regardless of whether or not an application is successful.  

However, applications are rarely denied. We generally only reject applicants who do not satisfy the licensing criteria or who fail to supply all the necessary documents on time.

Application process

Make sure that you have done, or have at least thought about doing, the following before you submit your application:  

  • requested a business ID from the Finnish Patent and Registration Office, 
  • been entered into the Finnish Tax Administration’s Prepayment Register and, where applicable, the Employer Register,
  • bought insurance under the Finnish Patient Insurance Act, 
  • Suomi.fi-identification for accessing online services,  
  • appointed a Chief Health Care Officer,
  • appointed a Patient Ombudsman,
  • carried out a pre-commissioning inspection on your business premises or, 
  • if your business operates on the premises of another health care provider, obtained evidence of your right to use their premises and equipment (e.g. lease agreement).

Learn more on:

The easiest way to apply is online. Applying online also speeds up the processing of your application. To apply online, you need to have Suomi.fi-identification.  

If you are unable to use the online customer service portal, you can print out the relevant forms and send them to the competent Regional State Administrative Agency’s registry by post or by email. A link to the contact information of Regional State Administrative Agencies’ registries is provided at the bottom of this page.

The application form contains questions about your business and the health care services that you intend to provide, including the following: 

  • your Managing Director’s details 
  • your Chief Health Care Officer’s details 
  • your Patient Ombudsman’s details 
  • the locations in which your business operates
  • the services that you intend to provide
  • the number of people you employ 
  • how you keep records of your patients

If you are applying for a new licence, you must provide the following supporting documents:  

  • evidence that your business has been entered into the Trade Register
  • evidence of your Chief Health Care Officer’s work experience 
  • a form explaining your policy for keeping patient and customer records  
  • a completed new service form

If you are applying for a new licence or asking for your licence to be amended, you might need to provide the following supporting documents:

  • a report of any pre-commissioning inspection carried out on your business premises, if you own or lease your premises 
  • if your business operates on the premises of another health care provider, evidence of your right to use their premises (e.g. lease agreement) 
  • safety certification from the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, if you intend to provide imaging services (e.g. X-ray) 
  • a form explaining your policy for keeping patient and customer records 
  • a self-regulation plan, if your business operates in more than one location or provides home-based nursing services or services for the elderly 
  • a copy of your pharmacotherapy policy (excluding writing prescriptions)
  • copies of specialisation certificates of any occupational health care professionals and experts, if you intend to provide services governed by the Finnish Occupational Health Care Act  
  • proof of impeccable reputation (clean criminal records) from those working with minors

Supporting documents can also be submitted via the online customer service portal.

Learn more on:

Once your application has been approved, the competent Regional State Administrative Agency enters your business into Finland’s national register of private social welfare and health care providers (in Finnish). 

More information about the register and the associated privacy policy is available from Regional State Administrative Agencies.

You need to report all material changes in the nature of your business to the competent Regional State Administrative Agency and, if necessary, ask for your licence to be amended.  

Your licence may need to be amended if, for example,  

  • you begin to provide health care services in a new location,  
  • your business moves to new premises, 
  • significant alterations are made to your premises, 
  • you add new services to your health care service portfolio, or 
  • you replace your Chief Health Care Officer. 

You cannot begin to provide services in a new location until your licence has been amended accordingly. 

You also need to let the competent Regional State Administrative Agency know about the following kinds of changes:  

  • any changes in your business’s basic information 
  • any expansion into new local authorities 
  • any changes in the names of your facilities 
  • the appointment of a new Patient Ombudsman 
  • closure of facilities or discontinuation of your business altogether 

The easiest way to report changes and ask for your licence to be amended is online using Suomi.fi identification.

A processing fee is payable for having your licence amended. Changes that do not require your licence to be amended can be reported free of charge.

If you are unable to use the online customer service portal to submit your annual report, you can send it to your nearest Regional State Administrative Agency by post or by email.

Reporting obligations

Private health care providers have an obligation to submit annual reports on their service provision to the licensing authority, i.e. either the competent Regional State Administrative Agency of the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health. 

We review annual reports to check that licensees have complied with the terms of their licence. Annual reports are also used to check that the information in the register of private social welfare and health care providers is correct and up to date. 

Information from the register of private social welfare and health care providers is carried across to the National Institute for Health and Welfare’s register of public and private social welfare and health care organisations. The accuracy of the information held in the register of public and private social welfare and health care organisations is vital for the correct operation of, for example, Kanta Services (electronic prescriptions, Patient Data Repository).

Your annual report needs to include details about the health care and nursing services that your business has provided during the year as well as any changes in your personnel, premises or the nature of your business.  

Annual reports must be submitted 

  • separately for each of the locations in which you operate, 
  • for any locations that were closed down during the year, and 
  • for any locations that are temporarily closed, regardless of when they were closed.  

Please note, however, that information about changes in your business or premises that you include in your annual report is not automatically carried across to the register of private social welfare and health care providers, and you need to report such changes separately and, if necessary, ask for your licence to be amended accordingly.

We send out emails at the beginning of each year to remind licensees to submit their annual reports from the previous year.  

Annual reports can be submitted online. The online customer service portal is accessed via Suomi.fi, and you need a Suomi.fi account to use it. Instructions for authorising individuals to access your account are provided at Suomi.fi. 

Once you have signed in, select “Employees” even if your business only employs one person.

The electronic reporting form has been pre-populated with basic information about your business and the locations in which you operate. 

To submit the report, you need 

  • online banking details, a mobile certificate or a certificate card to log into your Suomi.fi account, 
  • your business ID, and 
  • details about your customers and staff from the previous year per location.

If you are unable to use the online customer service portal to submit an application or a notice, you can enquire about the relevant forms from the registry of the competent Regional State Administrative Agency. A link to the contact information of Regional State Administrative Agencies’ registries is provided at the bottom of this page.

Contact information for registries

Links to legal texts