Ministry of Social Affairs and Health guides and directs wellbeing services counties in organisation of health and social services

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health is responsible for the general guidance, direction, planning and development of healthcare and social welfare in Finland. The Ministry of the Interior, in turn, is responsible for the management, guidance, direction and supervision of rescue services. The Ministry of Finance monitors the activities and finances of the wellbeing services counties.

The national guidance and direction of healthcare, social welfare and rescue services takes place at several different levels.

  • The national strategic objectives for organising healthcare, social welfare and rescue services and the strategic guidelines for the finances of wellbeing services counties are created at central government level. The advisory board on healthcare and social welfare, the advisory board on rescue services and the advisory board on county finances and administration promote the achievement of these objectives.
  • Negotiations with the collaborative areas are conducted annually, and if necessary, changes can be made to contracts in this connection. 
  • Annual negotiations are also conducted with wellbeing services counties, and if necessary, changes can be made to the counties’ investment plans. 
  • In addition to formal guidance and direction, the Government conducts continuous dialogue with the wellbeing services counties. 

Central government guidance and direction are strategic in nature, focusing on the duties of the wellbeing services counties to organise services. Guidance and direction do not address the duties or service provision of the counties in detail or issue obligations on them.

The aim is for guidance and direction to be based more and more on trust and continuous dialogue between the Ministry and the service organisers. An essential part of this is a shared knowledge base and understanding of the state of health and social services.

A handbook on guidance is being prepared to provide comprehensive information about national guidance and direction.

Funding of wellbeing services counties and their finances

More information on the funding of the wellbeing services counties and their finances is available on the website of the Ministry of Finance. 

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Finance have jointly prepared a guide for wellbeing services counties on how to draw up an investment plan. The guide will be updated based on the feedback received. 

Negotiations with wellbeing services counties

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the wellbeing services counties conduct regional negotiations annually. The Ministry of Finance takes part in these negotiations. 

During the negotiations, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the counties discuss the state of healthcare and social welfare in the counties and together look for solutions for resolving problems. Expert assessments made by the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and observations made by the counties and the Ministry are used to support the negotiations.

Advisory board on healthcare and social welfare

The advisory board on healthcare and social welfare aims to support the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in providing interactive guidance to the wellbeing services counties. The advisory board serves as a channel for the wellbeing services counties to make proposals to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. 

The members of the advisory board are from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of the Interior, wellbeing services counties, the City of Helsinki and the HUS Group. 

In addition to the advisory board on healthcare and social welfare and its divisions, there are a number of voluntary networks involved in this work. 

Further information

Linda Soikkeli, Senior Specialist 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Steering of Healthcare and Social Welfare / OHO, Unit for Steering / OHJA 0295163002  


Salme Kallinen, Ministerial Adviser 
Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Department for Steering of Healthcare and Social Welfare / OHO, Unit for Steering / OHJA 0295163290