Discretionary government grants awarded to wellbeing services counties to improve the availability and continuity of health and social services
The wellbeing services counties have been awarded discretionary government grants following the second application round for government grants under Finland’s Sustainable Growth Programme. In total, the counties have received nearly EUR 300 million in funding. Funding is directed especially to improving the availability and continuity of healthcare and social welfare services.
The wellbeing services counties received the funding decisions regarding the second application round for discretionary government grants under Finland’s Sustainable Growth Programme in December. The total amount of grants applied for from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health was approximately EUR 372 million, of which over EUR 255 million is now allocated to the wellbeing services counties. The wellbeing services counties last received funding in the form of government grants from the EU recovery instrument in spring 2022. At the time, a total of around EUR 34 million in funding was granted.
The funding will be used to promote the implementation of the maximum waiting times for access to primary healthcare and to reduce inequalities. This will be done by allocating funding to improve services for vulnerable groups and by focusing on the prevention and earlier identification of problems. The aim is to strengthen the quality and cost-effectiveness of services and to increase the introduction of new digital solutions.
New operating models must take account of various service needs
The aim is not only to clear the backlog in treatment and services that built up during the COVID-19 pandemic but also to speed up access to care permanently throughout the country by introducing new operating practices and to promote the implementation of the health and social services reform.
The measures to be implemented with government grants must be consistent with the strategy of each wellbeing services county, and the funding will support the reform of operating models in the counties. The development projects now funded will make it possible for the counties to effectively promote, for example, the development of digital services, which will have a direct impact on the availability and fluency of services. At the same time, it is important to take account of those groups of people that are not able to use e-services. According to Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru, access to services and their functioning are essential from the perspective of clients and patients.
– The aim is to reduce the backlog in treatment and services also by introducing new kinds of operating practices and by reorganising services, says Minister Kiuru.
All 21 wellbeing services counties and the City of Helsinki applied for discretionary government grants for their development projects. In addition, the centres of excellence on social welfare submitted a joint government grant application. The funding now granted will be available for use in projects between 2023 and 2025. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health awards the grants in full for the costs entitling to a discretionary government grant, and no self-financing is required.
In line with the objectives of the Government Programme, the Sustainable Growth Programme for Finland supports growth that is ecologically, socially and economically sustainable. The funding for the Programme comes from the EU’s one-off recovery instrument (Next Generation EU). The total amount of funding that Finland receives from the recovery instrument is EUR 2.6 billion, of which approximately EUR 369 million is allocated to the development of healthcare and social welfare.
Project Manager, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
tel. +358 295163012, kirsi.paasovaara(at)gov.fi
Specialist, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
tel. +358 295163165, heli.parikka(at)gov.fi
Project Secretary, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health
tel. +358 295163523, sanna.hamalainen(at)gov.fi