Half of Finns can reach basic health care services by public transport within 20 minutes

About half of Finnish residents who live within the operating area of public transport can reach the services of basic health care within 20 minutes. However, there are clear differences among the regions. A new study has examined nationwide geographical accessibility to the services of basic health care by public transport.

“Although health care services can generally be reached more easily with one’s own vehicle, many Finns can also reach the services by public transport”, says Harri Antikainen, a postdoctoral researcher in geoinformatics at the University of Oulu.

The importance of public transport for accessibility to health care services is greatest in the outskirts of cities.

Differences in accessibility among regions are fairly large. Predictably, access to basic health care by public transport is best in Uusimaa and other regions in the south of Finland with large populations. Accessibility is weakest in Lapland, Kainuu, Southern Savonia, and South Karelia.

Differences can also be seen in the various age groups, but they are fairly small.

“For the elderly, who typically use health care services the most, the situation is relatively good for reasons including their tendency to live in the population centres of their home cities and municipalities, where the services are near”, Antikainen says.

The study was published in the science journal Applied Geography. It was implemented as part of the IMPRO project, which produces information on the structure of social and health services, their function, and their effectiveness. IMPRO is a project funded by the Strategic Research Council of the Academy of Finland.

Map of accessibility by region in Finland.

Further information:

Geographical accessibility to primary health care in Finland – Grid-based multimodal assessment

Summary of travel times by region in Finland by car and by public transport (pdf, 37 KB)

Harri Antikainen
Postdoctoral Researcher
University of Oulu & IMPRO project
tel. +358 50 523 1262

Ossi Kotavaara
Research Director, Adjunct Professor
Oulun yliopisto
tel. +358 50 5739124