Sote | Health services must be cut, says the director of the welfare area: “We’re in quite a bit of trouble”

HS said earlier in November that almost all welfare areas will run a deficit next year. It means that the regions have to adapt their operations.

Current ones social security services cannot be maintained because there are not enough nursing staff. This is what the welfare regional director of Päijät-Häme says Petri Virolainen.

“There are activities in the social security sector that do not produce an awful lot of good for society or individuals. We have to dare to tackle it.”

The Estonian says directly that services will be cut in Päijät-Hämee. No concrete decisions have yet been made about which services will be eliminated.

At this point, he reflects on the issue through examples.

“We can have services that are currently available four times a year. In the future, you could get such services, for example, twice a year.”

According to the Estonian, such services can be, for example, control visits. Even the use of more affordable medications is expensive instead, there may be one option if a more affordable medication gives almost the same effect.

Estonian in any case, it is completely clear that, in one way or another, the current services will be reduced. In his opinion, in Finland, there has been an overly optimistic tone about the social security services of the future.

“When talking about welfare areas, we are told that nothing will change, and that is probably true in the short term. But the fact is that our staff is not enough to provide the service that even our money would be enough for. We are forced to start restructuring a service that is less impressive.”

According to Virolainen, Päijät-Hämee currently lacks 500 nurses. According to him, nurse sizing complicates the labor shortage, because the service organizer is forced to direct nurses specifically to round-the-clock care.

“Now the legislation forces us to prioritize one part of the whole. In principle, I am in favor of dimensioning, but if we absolutely do not have hands, we should be able to direct employees to where the need is greatest.”

A shortage of nurses means, for example, that hospitals have had to be closed in the province.

“In other words, patients who would ideally be in the hospital are now at home. That, in turn, means that treatment is delayed and treatment queues grow.”

Geographically services have already been reduced in Päijät-Hämee.

Virolainen says that the costs of the province’s health and social care services have already been cut by combining the bed wards of health centers and reducing the number of outpatient healthcare offices. There have also been fewer beds in specialized medical care and the focus of treatment has been shifted to the home. According to Virolainen, every municipality in Päijät-Häme will have a social security center in the future, but some will get fewer services.

There may be similar plans in other welfare areas. HS asked by e-mail the management of the welfare areas, what kind of adaptation measures are planned in the areas. Several of the regions mentioned in their answer that the service network is being examined as part of adaptation measures. For example, it is reported from North Karelia that the evening and weekend receptions of at least some health centers will probably be reduced.

Before the regional elections in January, cutting services did not get support from the parties. In the election debates, they talked more about improving the service. In the HS election machine, all parties said that every municipality should continue to have a social welfare and health center.

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HS said earlier in November that all but one of the welfare areas will run a deficit next year. The deficit must be covered during the three-year financial planning period, which means that if the funding of the regions is not increased, they will have to make some kind of adjustment measures.

Read more: HS found out: All but one welfare area will make a loss next year

Director of the Ostrobothnia welfare region Marina Kinnunen says that sustainable development work will start in the area by next spring, which will probably seek savings of 60 million euros.

“We have to go again and see what we can do with these fins. The big challenge is that we don’t have enough personnel, even if we have money.”

Kinnunen does not yet say about concrete plans regarding the service network. Due to contracts, the welfare district is committed to the current properties for three years.

“We are obliged to rent properties for the next three years, which means we cannot intervene in those costs. The service network is looked at from the point of view of whether it is possible to create slightly poorer services in such a way that the statutory duties are met.”

According to Kinnusen, the big problem is that social security services are blocked in all respects. It means that the focus of treatment is on expensive specialized medical care.

According to Kinnusen, it is essential that resources can be transferred to primary health care, which should reduce costs in the long term.

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“We have to boldly reform so that the service is offered at a basic level.”

“We have to weed out what is least useful in order to secure the most important actions.”

Päijät-Hämeen According to the Estonian, now the last moments are at hand, when the labor shortage must be properly addressed throughout Finland.

“Really, we don’t have terribly long to watch this. We are in quite a bit of trouble,” Virolainen says.

First of all, it is necessary to be able to improve the attractiveness of social security work. Second, the need to do work must be reduced.

The Estonian brings up, for example, that currently a lot of manpower is spent on recording various certificates. Regarding sickness absences, many workplaces have moved to a practice where an employee can be absent for some time with their own notice.

“Similar practices should be considered without prejudice. We have to weed out what is least useful so that we can secure the most important actions.”

Estonian reminds that social security services have grown for reasons other than the aging of the population. There have been more new forms of treatment, diagnostic methods and service forms. People’s ailments are constantly being treated more widely, and healthcare obligations have increased.

In the future, people’s responsibility for their own health should also be greater, Virolainen says.

“We do a lot of educating, but should people also be obliged in some way to take better care of themselves, so that there won’t be so many problems? It shouldn’t be incriminating, but maybe you should dare to think about something like this.”

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