Health Care Guarantee

Care within a certain period of time

Care within a certain period of time

A health care guarantee that applies to the entire country

A health care guarantee means that a patient shall receive health care within a certain period of time. This is a statutory part of the health care and medical treatment code. The health care guarantee indicates the frame of time within which a patient shall be offered care from the county council or the region. However, it does not regulate whether care shall be provided or what type of care a patient shall receive.

From the time it is decided that a patient should be seen by a physician for a first visit at the district health care clinic, or alternatively, make a visit or receive a treatment within specialized care, the health care guarantee indicates how long, at the longest, a patient shall be required to wait. If it is not possible to receive care or treatment at the health care facility where a patient has sought care within the designated time frames, a patient shall be offered an appointment or treatment at another health care facility. It is possible that a patient can be referred to another health care facility in another region or under the jurisdiction of another county council.

Emergency care is not tied to the health care guarantee. A patient who has become acutely ill or injured shall receive treatment as quickly as possible.

National Health Care Guarantee 0–7–90–90

According to the health care guarantee, a patient has the right to:

  • 0 – Contact with primary health care the same day
    The same day that a patient seeks help, contact with primary health care shall be provided, for example, contact with a district health care clinic or the medical treatment advisement line (a telephone-based service). This initial contact can take place via telephone or through a personal visit.
  • 7- Visit with a physician within primary health care within seven days
    If health care personnel determines that a patient needs to see a physician, a patient shall be seen by a physician within seven days at the longest, at a district health care clinic or with a family doctor, for example.
  • 90 – Visit with specialised care within 90 days
    If a patient obtains a referral to specialised care, the specialised care unit shall see the patient within 90 days. This applies even if the patient has sought treatment without a referral.
  • 90 – Treatment begun within 90 days
    Upon a decision for treatment, for example an operation, the patient shall be seen within 90 days.

When does the health care guarantee not apply?

The health care guarantee does not apply

  • to follow-up visits
  • if, for medical reasons, the patient should wait longer than the time frame provided by the health care guarantee
  • to medical services, for instance laboratory or x-ray examinationsto investigations and examinations
  • to the provision of means of assistance, an exception is the trial of hearing aids
  • if the patient chooses to refuse an offer of treatment with another health care facility (if the patient later changes his/her mind, he/she can accept the offer of treatment).

Waiting lists in health care

There is a national website for the follow-up of health care guarantees and waiting lists, On the website, patients can find information about waiting lists within the region and the county council's area of jurisdiction.

Health care from another facility

If a patient is offered an appointment time or treatment that does not meet the time frame of the health care guarantee, the patient shall be offered care from another health care facility. The patient has the right to refuse the alternative offer of care if he/she does not wish to receive care or treatment anywhere other than the facility where care was originally sought. However, this can imply a longer waiting period. If, later, the patient has a change of heart, it is always possible to contact his/her health care provider. The health care guarantee applies from that subsequent date.

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Written by: Pia Landgren, Health care and medical treatment strategist, Region of Skåne


Reviewer: This text is reviewed in consultation with Sweden’s municipalities and county councils, SKL.