Reader ‘s opinion The corona pandemic brought a huge amount of completely new kind of work to health centers

Only what has been necessary to treat has been able to be treated. Unfortunately, leisurely care has been allowed to stay and care debt is growing.

Coronavirus pandemic has been disciplining the world and health care for a year now. At this stage, care debt is everywhere, and in Helsinki this is starting to show up, especially in health centers.

Patients wonder why the receptions are no longer accessible and you can wait for hours before calling back so easily.

The pandemic has brought a whole new kind of work to health centers, for which time has had to be found in the midst of everything else. A year ago, in March, two coronavirus health stations were opened with a few days ’notice. The stations were set up with support and staff were gathered from the health centers’ own nurses and doctors.

Initially heavily loaded with a corona counseling phone, respondents also demanded responses from all health centers. The increase in testing capacity made it easy to access the tests, but continues to regularly congest the Omaolo service, which Korona virus symptom assessments are dismantled by station administrators on a daily basis.

At the same time, doctors at health centers handle first calls for coronavirus-positive people and act as consultants to vaccination points. When coronavirus vaccinations were started at the turn of the year, the vaccines initially needed their own caregivers. A large number of station supervisors were transferred to vaccination stations to be in charge of their operations.

All of this has been done alongside the basic work – with the same number of staff as before the pandemic. Nothing has been directly pruned out of the basic work, but in reality a lot has not been taken care of. It has simply been impossible for the stations to meet current demand at the same time in the midst of all the extra work. Only what has been necessary to treat has been able to be treated. Unfortunately, leisurely care has been allowed to stay and care debt is growing.

In the midst of all this, Helsinki health centers are preparing for a new patient information system, Apotti, which is scheduled to be launched at the end of April. Merely preparing for Apotti would already be an effort in itself, let alone in a situation where everyone has a year of grueling battle against the coronavirus and time on their shoulders.

When dealing with health centers, patients pay attention to empty corridors. One wonders why we have to wait weeks for reception time when no congestion is visible, however. What exactly do nurses and doctors do today?

Nurses and doctors are stretching, enduring and caring, even if it is not now seen in congestion in the corridors. Patients to be treated may no longer come to the reception, but their affairs are still taken care of: by phone and electronically in the Omaolo service. Behind closed doors always happens and constantly.


We exceptionally publish the article under a pseudonym.

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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