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Municipal and service reform to assure equal social and health services for all

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 8.11.2006 9.30
Press release -

Framework legislation for the reform of Finland’s municipal and service structure, known as the PARAS Project, aims to promote improved service delivery nationwide to meet changing needs and priorities. In this it puts much emphasis on health and welfare services and efforts to strengthen the organisation of services in terms of cooperation and population coverage.

The MSAH’s main aim in the PARAS reform is to ensure that social rights remain robust. The health and welfare of the population and quality services have to be assured regardless of where people live. The MSAH view is that the PARAS project’s goals in terms of social and healthcare will be achieved with the strengthening of the municipal structure and the bases for funding, as well as with closer collaboration between municipalities, the rationalisation of the service structure and by ensuring the comprehensive coverage of the service network.

The draft legislation envisaged by the PARAS project sets the organisation of basic healthcare in all municipalities with populations of at least 20,000. This population base of service organisation is that sought by the national healthcare project, and is also being used as the basis for the organisation of social services. The 20,000 population baseline for services is a challenging goal, as the majority of current municipalities fall below it, and only a quarter of the 250 healthcare centres maintained by municipalities or groups of them meet the demographic requirements of the draft law.

Municipalities are to choose the best way of attaining the demographic threshold – either through municipal unions or collaborative areas, according to models of municipal combines or host municipalities. In this way, every second municipality will be combined under a board of social affairs and health responsible for public health and social welfare. The MSAH’s aim is that social care and basic healthcare will be organised as unified whole.

Further information: Ms Eija Koivuranta, Ministerial Councellor, Legal Affairs, tel. +358 9 160 74350

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