The Savonlinna council decided to get involved in the joint preparation of South Savo’s health care, although it has not rejected the idea of becoming part of Northern Savonia.
Foaming around the provincial borders in Southern and Eastern Savonia will not subside, although the Sote bill before Parliament stated that Savonlinna and the three smaller municipalities located nearby will continue to belong to the South Savo welfare area.
Savonlinna, Rantasalmi, Enonkoski and and at an earlier stage also Sulkava would have liked to move to Northern Savonia, but the government did not approve the cross-border cut. The decision-makers in the area estimate that the direction of Pohjois-Savo would have better secured the operations of Savonlinna Central Hospital.
There is already one well-equipped central hospital in Mikkeli in Southern Savonia. The area is small in population and withering, so a continuation of two hospitals of the same level is unlikely.
Read more: Southern Savonia is fighting its hospitals so that the whole province is in danger of being torn apart
The most recent turning point is that on Monday, the Savonlinna City Council decided to participate in joint discussions with Etelä-Savo to prepare the welfare area. Member of the Greens and member of the council Heli Järvinen emphasizes that the Council’s previous decision to aspire to become part of Northern Savonia is still valid.
The second turn is that the director of the Soster municipality in the Itä-Savo hospital district in charge of the central hospital Panu Peitsaro resigned as Epiphany. He has strongly defended the status of Savonlinna Hospital in public.
Peitsaro also immediately resigned from the Coalition, as he was particularly disappointed by the vice-chairman Antti Häkkänen (Kok) activities on the provincial issue. Häkkänen has supported the current South Savo provincial border.
In the last parliamentary elections, Peitsaro was left behind in the constituency of Southeast Finland.
Peitsaro wrote to leave opinion paper in Itä-Savo magazine, in which he says he asked the Coalition for the position of MP From Paula Risiko (Kok) and the party chairman Petteri Orpolta. Risikko had replied that Häkkänen’s position was not the official position of the party or the parliamentary group. Orpo, on the other hand, had skipped Peitsaro’s actual question and answered that the problem was in the provincial model.
“According to my interpretation, the Coalition Party, despite Antti Häkkänen’s statement, does not have a party position on the sote solution in our area, which is now closing down Savonlinna Central Hospital by the end of 2032,” Peitsaro writes.
Thus, the Enforcement Act contains a provision according to which the South Savo welfare area could maintain more than one round-the-clock on-call duty in connection with its hospitals until the end of 2032. This sentence may give the current operations of Savonlinna Central Hospital an extension of another ten years.
Also Heli Järvinen of the Greens is disappointed with the activities of her party and other governing parties with regard to Itä-Savo. The area has been tough in recent years due to, among other things, the closure of the Savonlinna Teacher Training Institute, which, according to Järvinen, changed the character of the entire city.
According to Järvinen, the SOTE decisions are already reflected in difficulties in recruiting Savonlinna Hospital.
Järvinen supports the direction of Pohjois-Savo. He says he cannot vote in favor of the sote proposal in parliament.
Still, it seems strongly that the provincial borders are progressing in line with the government’s sote proposal. Therefore, according to Järvinen, it would be unsustainable for Savonlinna not to participate in the preparations for deciding on the future of healthcare in the region – although the city still hopes that the direction of Northern Savonia will eventually be possible.
Consortium of Municipalities manager Risto Kortelainen Essote from the Etelä-Savo Hospital District says he is relieved of Savonlinna’s decision to participate in the joint preparation of the Etelä-Savo Welfare Area, because the interim administration under the War Enforcement Act only has preparation time until the end of this year.
Elections to the regional councils are already in January 2022, if Parliament enacts the SOTE laws to come into force this summer.
“Personally, I see that well into the 2030s, the role of Savonlinna Central Hospital as an on-call hospital will be secured in the future law, which obliges the South Savo welfare area to act accordingly. It is not true that the hospital would cease from there. Mikkeli does not have the prerequisites to take the patient flow of the entire area, but of course there are changes in some specialties. In addition, the hospital must be on call, because Mikkeli also has more than a hundred kilometers, ”says Kortelainen.
At the same time, according to Kortelainen, it is important that the operations of Mikkeli Central Hospital be strengthened in order to secure the supply of skilled personnel there.