Transfer of patients from health care centres to special care services:analysis of travel distances in Nordic countries


Objectives. This paper highlights the importance of analysing patient transportation in Nordic circumpolar areas. The research questions we asked are as follows: How many Finnish patients have been transferred to special care intra-country and inter-country in 2009? Does it make any difference to health care policymakers if patients are transferred inter-country? Study design. We analysed the differences in distances from health care centres to special care services within Finland, Sweden and Norway and considered the health care policy implications. Methods. An analysis of the time required to drive between service providers using the “Google distance meter” (; conducting interviews with key Finnish stakeholders; and undertaking a quantitative analyses of referral data from the Lapland Hospital District. Results. Finnish patients are generally not transferred for health care services across national borders even if the distances are shorter. Conclusion. Finnish patients have limited access to health care services in circumpolar areas across the Nordic countries for 2 reasons. First, health professionals in Norway and Sweden do not speak Finnish, which presents a language problem. Second, The Social Insurance Institution of Finland does not cover the expenditures of travel or the costs of medicine. In addition, it seems that in circumpolar areas the density of Finnish service providers is greater than Swedish ones, causing many Swedish citizens to transfer to Finnish health care providers every year. However, future research is needed to determine the precise reasons for this.

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Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Policy
College of Business and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences & Humanities
Additional Information: Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 License ( allowing third parties to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, and to remix, transform, and build upon the material, for any purpose, even commercially, under the condition that appropriate credit is given.
Uncontrolled Keywords: density,accessibility,health services,distance
Publication ISSN: 2242-3982
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2024 07:13
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2014 11:30
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Related URLs: http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
https://www.tan ... jch.v69i5.17694 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2010
Authors: Vuori, Jari
Kylänen, Marika
Tritter, Jonathan (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-1651-2428)



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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