Minister Krista Kiuru:
Health and social services reform will be carried out focusing on services, reforming the structures simultaneously

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 29.8.2019 9.46 | Published in English on 4.9.2019 at 16.40
Column

Now people need to wait weeks to see a doctor. Clients are lost in a jungle of services when trying to find the right service. Municipalities’ costs for health and social services cannot be kept under control, which is why municipalities are considering to reduce their basic services.

These stories have been repeated in the news for too long. For over a decade, experts as well as citizens have appealed for the development of basic services.

The health and social services reform will now be carried out by focusing on services to people. This is a significant change as the work focused earlier on administrative structures.

Health and social services reform will start by strengthening basic services

Antti Rinne’s Government will launch a broad-based development programme to strengthen health centres.  The purpose of the programme Future Health and Social Services Centres is to transform the present health centres into broad-based health and social centres, which offer people smooth services and help for individual needs.

The changes will be carried out by making care guarantee stricter, moving emphasis from heavy services to preventive work, and by intensifying cooperation between different professionals within health and social services.

In addition, focus will also be placed on service quality by bringing research and development activities back to the everyday work of health and social services centres. Digital and mobile services will be taken into use for purposes for which they are suited.

Our aim is to ensure equal access to health and social services for all who need treatment or support. The health and social services reform will be carried out in order to guarantee sustainable wellbeing in Finland even for the coming decades.

Reformed services, reformed structure

In addition to the programme for developing basic services, the health and social services reform will include a reform of structures. A new administrative structure will be established to form the foundation for basic services and to respond to future challenges.

The structure of health and social services will be based on 18 autonomous counties and five collaborative areas for healthcare and social welfare. It is important that the public sector will continue as the organiser and main provider of the services even in the new model.

In future, counties will themselves provide most services, and private providers and the third sector will supplement the public services.

The first studies will start this autumn, dealing with special arrangements for Uusimaa and municipalities’ possibilities to take the role of a service provider. The studies are part of the structural reform. The financing arrangements and the multisectoral nature of municipalities’ activities will be examined by the end of 2020.

Health and social services equally to all

The health and social services reform has been under preparation in Finland for more than a decade. It is therefore time to complete the extensive reform.  We will implement the reform by focusing on health and social services.

Among Europeans, the Finnish population is ageing fastest and needs more services than before.
Birth rate is decreasing at the same time, which will lead to smaller future working-age generations and decreased tax revenue.

This change is not an easy equation for us, in particular in regions where the number of people is decreasing both due to birth rate changes and ageing. This is why we need the health and social services reform.

We also need it because no one should have doubts about whether they get help when they need it. Every one of us deserves equal opportunities to receive treatment and support when we need them.


Krista Kiuru
Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services