Health and social services reform to be implemented in a people-oriented manner

The health and social services reform will develop public healthcare and social welfare throughout Finland to meet changes in society. The reform will be carried out by focusing on services and in a people-oriented manner.

Equal access to health and social services for everyone

Currently, people in Finland do not have equal access to health and social services. People must wait for access to treatment and services and there may be interruptions in their service pathway.

Sustainable wellbeing will require that all Finland’s residents are guaranteed harmonised and high-quality healthcare and social welfare services.

Finland’s population is ageing at a rapid pace and will need more services than previously. The decline in the birth rate will lead to a smaller number of working-age people and a reduction in tax income. A reform of health and social services is needed to curb the rise in costs and to ensure equal access to health and social services for future generations.

Focus on basic services and prevention

The reform will shift the focus of health and social services to basic services and the early prevention of problems. It is also aimed at speeding up access to treatment.

The opportunity to receive assistance at an early stage is important to ensure that people’s minor problems do not grow into serious ones. When problems are resolved early on, the need for specialised healthcare and demanding specialised services will decrease and costs will fall.

One contact to access the relevant service

Future health and social services centres will provide people with the help they need with one contact.

Services will be developed and streamlined to form uninterrupted service chains and unified arrangements. Health and social services professionals will direct each person to services where they can get the individual assistance they need in a timely manner.

Operating methods and digital solutions will be developed in a people-oriented manner. Development will be based on wide-ranging competence and cooperation between health and social services professionals.

Responsibility for the organisation of health and social services to shift from local authorities (municipalities) to regional authorities (counties)

In addition to the development of services, the health and social services reform will include structural reform.

One of the duties of the public sector is to take care of the health and wellbeing of the population. This is done in part by arranging health and social services. The responsibility for organising such services lies with local authorities, that is, the municipalities.

At present, the municipalities organise health and social services as well as rescue services. In the future, responsibility for these will lie with autonomous regions larger than municipalities (called counties). The administrative structure will be reformed to ensure that wellbeing can be guaranteed in Finland in the coming decades.

The counties will produce services predominantly as public services. Private sector actors and the third sector will supplement these.

Municipalities will continue to be responsible for promoting health and wellbeing. Daycare, teaching, physical activity and culture will remain the responsibility of the municipalities.

The health and social services reform will be prepared and implemented in stages

At all stages, the implementation of the reform will proceed in a controlled manner. The development of services and the preparation of the structure for new health and social services in the counties will be facilitated with financial support.