Skip to content
Contact About us Swedish residents

Swedish Healthcare System

Swedish healthcare is ranked amongst the best healthcare systems in the world.

Due to a combination of cutting-edge treatment and research, tradition, and safety, patients from all over the world travel to Sweden to undergo treatment and seek advice. The Swedish approach to healthcare, emphasizing non-hierarchic, team-based, patient-centered, and value-driven care, is known for its excellent results. (Source:

Swedish healthcare for patients coming from abroad

In Sweden, everyone is entitled to emergency or necessary care, regardless of whether you are a Swedish citizen or only here temporarily. The cost of the care depends on several factors, such as country of residence, insurance cards, etc. Read more at the Swedish government’s website about healthcare for visitors.   

The Stockholm region is ranked as one of the most innovative regions worldwide and is also the base for one of the world's most exciting life science clusters. Alongside Karolinska Institutet, home of the Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine, several of Europe's most prestigious academic institutions can be found here.  
The outcomes of treatment in Sweden are ranked among the best in the world, both in terms of excellent results compared to OECD countries as well as the overall quality of the healthcare system. More than 11% of the GDP is used for health and medical care. A total of 86% of Sweden’s total health and medical costs in 2021 were financed by the government and only 13% through patient fees and other sources (Source: SCB). According to The Lancet, Sweden's healthcare system was ranked fourth best in the world out of 195 countries participating in the study.

The Swedish healthcare system stands out due to the following:  

  • Among the lowest MRSA infection rates in the EU  
  • Excellent treatment outcomes – low maternal and infant mortality rates and top marks among OECD countries regarding 5-year cancer survival statistics, amongst others.
  • Public funding – based on the principles of tax-funded healthcare to ensure equality, safety, reliability, and efficiency. This means that everyone in Sweden has access to subsidized care.   
  • National quality registries – used for enhanced learning, improvement, research, and management to continue delivering world-leading healthcare. Sweden has used a system of social security numbers for over 70 years, enabling data collection and improved healthcare outcomes for a long time. 

Research funding

Clinical research in Sweden is mainly financed through four different sources of income:  

  • Government and regional funding via the so-called ALF agreements between the state and Region Stockholm. 
  • Other public financiers such as the Swedish Research Council, Vinnova, and the EU Commission. 
  • Private financiers, for example, through industry collaborations
  • Foundations and endowment funds such as the Swedish Cancer Society, the Swedish Heart Lung Foundation, and the hospital's own endowment funds.  

At Karolinska University Hospital, public ALF funding accounts for about one-third of the total income for clinical research, the remaining revenue comes from external project funding.