Reader ‘s opinion Experienced doctors will stay if the workload is not unreasonable

Increasing the number of health center doctors is the most important measure for improving primary health care.

Parliamentary The aim of the forthcoming SOTE reform is to strengthen basic services and shift the focus from remedial to preventive work. Central to achieving these goals is how to address the shortage of doctors in health centers and the high turnover of doctors.

In Finland there are more doctors of working age than ever before, but there is no increase in the numbers of health center doctors. The primary health care care guarantee will be tightened in accordance with the government’s program so that emergency care can be provided within a week.

In addition, there is a desire to improve access to care by adding evening and weekend receptions to health centers, even though there is a lack of doctors in daytime activities. There are currently about 300 vacancies in health centers. The care guarantee is estimated to be met if a thousand new doctors are admitted to health centers, while taking advantage of digitalisation, the input of various professionals and bringing special-level consultations to the basic level.

Health centers the activity relies heavily on early-stage physicians, who may work in the same place for only a few months as part of their specialization studies. In terms of continuity of care, this is a big problem and a burden on both the patient and the doctors. Repeated recruitment and induction of new employees takes time from other management, operational development and training planning, as well as, of course, patient work.

Long patient relationships have been a reason for many doctors to apply for health center work, but acquaintances are becoming less common. As continuity of care often does not materialize in the current situation, there is feedback from experienced colleagues that working in a health center is no longer meaningful and rewarding. If the experienced are exhausted and leave, the availability of health services will be further reduced, as the experienced doctor will treat more patients during the day than the recent graduate.

Helsinki is trying to alleviate the shortage of doctors and non-urgent care queues by purchasing a recruitment service (HS City 20.1.). The permanence of experienced doctors, as well as the recruitment of future social centers from the private sector, occupational health care and graduating doctors, will only be successful if working conditions are in order and the workload is not unreasonable. In order to achieve this, it is first necessary to have official dimensions to match the workload. There must also be sufficient other staff in the SOTE centers. Now doctors do an average of two working days a week other than patient work.

Onhan care guarantee and a thousand new doctors involved in the review when the board meets at mid-point?

Maarit Leinonen

specialist doctor, docent of epidemiology, Helsinki

Sanna Stålnacke

General Practitioner, Assistant Chief Physician, Kirkkonummi

Reader opinions are speeches written by HS readers, selected and delivered by HS editorial. You can leave a comment or read the principles of writing at


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