Finnish health system from the perspective of foreign students

Alex Aregbesola, Researcher, Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition

The Finnish health care system is a pleasant surprise to some of the foreign students. Maybe surprise is not the actual word for me, after all Finland is one of the wealthy industrialized countries with robust funds to support an excellent health care service. The super organized “modus operandi”, the sparkling clean hospital environment and baby friendly atmosphere rank among the top highlights of the Finnish health care system for me. However, the system is not without flaws which is where some foreign students have received a “blow” or should I say a shock for a surprise. One student narrated his experience on how long he had to wait for appointment to see a specialist physician. Of course, if it is not an emergency specialist care, then it can be on the queue, so I said. Another student had to wait for months for a surgery which was also not an emergency. But the question remains, should it take so long? My Finnish friends have also expressed some dislike on the long waiting period.

With utmost respect for the first come first serve principle in our society as well as with any other organized society, the long waiting period for a specialist care could be very unpleasant.  It may even undermine the appreciation of the state-of-the-art facilities available. I would like to see our specialist care services delivered not at the speed of light or not faster than Usein bolt in a 100 meter dash, but in a reasonable time that would further show case the numerous high-tech and robotic facilities available all around our hospitals. To wrap up, in my opinion, the emergency health care is flawless and I think as foreign students stay longer in the Finnish society; perhaps they will experience a faster  specialist health care service, if and when the need arises.


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