Rules and rights

Choosing a clinic

Välja vårdmottagning - engelska

You have the right to use the health centre or clinic of your choice when you need outpatient care. You can obtain outpatient care wherever you like in Sweden.

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There may be any number of reasons that you prefer a particular health centre or clinic. For instance, it might be most convenient to choose one that is close to your home or job, or maybe some members of its staff speak your native language.

What do I have the right to choose?

You may choose a

  • health centre
  • child welfare centre
  • midwife's clinic
  • youth clinic
  • outpatient specialist clinic for dermatology or another speciality.

You may need a referral in order to be treated at an outpatient specialist clinic. The county councils or regions where you live or want to receive care have their own referral procedures. Find out more here about how the various county councils and regions operate.

Choosing a health centre

A health centre can offer care when you are sick or experiencing a health problem. The centre will provide immediate treatment and then refer you to an appropriate clinic if you need specialist care. You can go to the health centre of your choice, either in the county council or region where you live or elsewhere. The only condition is that the centre must be run by, or have an agreement with, the county council or region.

You also have the right to enrol at a particular health centre if you like. Your county council may automatically assign you to a specific centre unless you actively choose another one. You are free to switch to another centre if you are dissatisfied with your current one or for any other reason. You may enrol at any health centre throughout Sweden. Regardless of which health centre you are enrolled at, you are always free to make an appointment at another one.

Fixed medical contact

You can have a fixed medical contact at your health centre. This means that you will see the same doctor whenever possible.

Choosing outpatient specialist care

Outpatient specialist care means that you do not have to be hospitalised. Dermatology and ophthalmology are among the services that outpatient specialist clinics may provide. You can also go to a clinic that specialises in your particular illness, such as kidney disease.

You are free to obtain care at the outpatient specialist clinic of your choice, wherever in Sweden it is located. You may need a referral if the county council or region where you live or want to receive care requires it.

Who can see my medical records?

The caregivers at a health centre or specialist clinic that you have not been to before cannot automatically see your medical records from previous caregivers. They must obtain your approval first. Talk with the staff if you want to arrange for them to see your old records.

Do I need a referral?

A referral states that you need a particular kind of assessment, examination or treatment. The referral also contains medical information about your symptoms, how you are feeling, your previous illnesses and injuries, etc.

You must make an appointment at a health centre before you can get a referral. The doctor at the centre will send a referral to the clinic of your choice if (s)he decides that you require specialist care. Whether or not you need a referral depends on the procedures of the county councils or regions where you live and want to receive care. Even if a referral is not required, getting one may speed up the process of obtaining care at a specialist clinic. The urgency of your medical needs is the primary factor that determines how quickly you will receive care.

If you want to make an appointment at a specialist clinic in a county council or region that you are not living in, the first thing to do is find out whether either of the counties requires you to obtain a referral. Find out more here about procedures in the various county councils and regions.

Does the health care guarantee apply to my situation?

According to the health care guarantee, care must be made available to you within a specific period of time and your county council must help you go somewhere else if it is unable to keep that promise. The guarantee applies only if your first choice is to receive care in the county council or region where you are living or at a clinic with which the county council has an agreement.

Your medical needs determine how quickly you will receive care in another county council or region. It is up to the doctor to make that assessment.

Patient fees (co-pays) and travel to receive care

Patient fees (co-pays) differ depending on the county council, region and type of care involved. You are always responsible for paying the fee that is in effect for the county council where the clinic is located.

You are not entitled to compensation for expenses associated with travel when you choose a clinic in another county council.

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