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I am writing in response to Ms Pilar Díaz who wrote an article this week about her problem or lack of medical service here in Finland.

I think she was unfortunate possibly with her doctor or the health clinic but my experience of the Finnish national health is in complete contrast.

I moved here in 1996 and lived outside Oulu. Being deaf someone suggested I try using a cochlear implant. After many tests they operated and placed an implant in my head. This was a major operation and when they switched me on after a month it was like being reborn at 50.

I obviously had to relearn the different sounds, but to hear the birds singing all night (they do this in the north), I could not get enough.

This was free and I only had to pay the four days whilst in hospital, and even that was subsidised as I was unemployed at the time. It would have cost an arm and a leg otherwise.

However, I moved south to Heinola and am now in the care of Helsinki Hospital. If I had a problem with the processor or anything to do with its spare parts etc., I receive very good service.

About four months ago the processor I had had suddenly stopped working on a Friday evening. I contacted the hospital on Monday, went for a check on Tuesday and was given a time for a new op.

In two weeks again all went well, and within four weeks it was switched on. So, all in all, it was six weeks before I was up and running, so to speak, and have not had any trouble since then.

Again I only paid for the time I was in the hospital: two days this time.

I realise it is very expensive to live here in Finland but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

If I should have this op in the UK I would have to go private.

Thanks again Finnish Kela and Helsinki Hospital.

Mike Burton

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