As part of the reform, the wellbeing services counties will assume responsibility for the following tasks, among others:
The county elections are elections of principle for Finland regarding social, health and rescue services that are of vital importance to each and every one of us. It is time to build a more equal Finland.
The Centre Party’s solution for strengthening local services rests on three factors.
1. Every municipality shall have at least one Health and Social Service Centre.
2. Personnel shall be assured a better workday and workplace.
3. Properly timed treatment shall be accessible with a single contact.
The Centre Party promises that the social welfare and health care reform will ensure that services are provided in accordance with the needs of and close to those who will be using them. Services create jobs, which in turn improves the vitality of each area.
The centralisation of health and social services as a means of achieving savings may feel like an attractive option for some. Instead of centralisation, however, the Centre Party endeavours to promote solid and stable wellbeing services counties and regions built around the needs of the local residents. Any calculation of costs should also take into account costs that are assumed by the customers.
Every municipality shall have at least one Health and Social Service Centre that ensures that residents have access to local services. Services must be broadly available in all larger population centres and city districts. Everyone must feel confident that they can get the help they need when they need it.
Local health care services are an essential means of relieving and preventing the formation of queues for care and treatment. Especially owing to the coronavirus situation, many child health check-ups and annual dental check-ups were not realised. Non-emergency surgeries and medical appointments were also cancelled. The service chains must be established in a way that prevents a future emergence of a similar treatment deficit. The realisation of the social and health care service reform and treatment time guarantee together ensure that, in the future, patients will receive non-emergency care within one week and as close as possible to their homes.
The customer’s need for care is determined based on the initial examination or contact, which must then enable for the customer’s access to timely treatment. The clinical pathway must be assured from basic health care to specialised medical care, including social services. This is sensible both in terms of individuals and society. Collaboration between the different sectors must be flexible and multi-directional. Customers will no longer need to turn to different organisations but, rather, a single contact will suffice.
New operational methods and development are necessary in order to safeguard local services. More flexible opening hours for health and social services, including evening and weekend hours, and digital services will ensure broad-scale accessibility to all residents.
Every elderly person in Finland shall receive humane and high-quality care, in their own area, whether they live in a care facility or at home. New modes of living that fall between one’s own home and institutional residency must be developed as a local service for the elderly. Good results have been achieved, for example, through family care and residential care. Every elderly person shall be guaranteed at least one warm meal per day. The food must be diverse, healthy and sourced locally whenever possible.
A county that supports entrepreneurism thrives and projects vitality to its residents and businesses. The Centre Party supports the role of social welfare and health care entrepreneurs within service production. Private service providers help to relieve treatment queues and serve as efficient sparring partners for public services.
Privately and publicly owned companies and the third sector supplement the services of the public sector, for example, through the integration of service vouchers and personal budgeting. This facilitates the equal provision of services by small and medium-sized care and treatment companies and organisations alongside larger ones.
The systematic development of public procurement is a shared endeavour of the wellbeing services county and entrepreneurs for the benefit of the region, its residents and its self-employed workers. All public procurement must involve local service provision and take local businesses into consideration. Wellbeing services counties must make their food acquisitions with an emphasis on local foods.
The co-operation between emergency medical service and rescue services, as well as between the police and the Finnish Border Guard must be seamless. This increases safety, safeguards services and keeps response times reasonable even in sparsely populated and more remote areas. The reform shall safeguard the existence and operational prerequisites for contract fire brigades. Contract fire brigades are an essential aspect of internal safety and the provision of rescue services.
People will continue to have the freedom of choice. Customers can have the chance to choose their own Health and Social Service Centre more flexibly within their wellbeing services county to best suit their work or study location. In terms of specialised medical care, the possibility to work with one’s attending doctor to choose a treatment centre anywhere in Finland shall be retained.
The most demanding specialised medical care shall be centralised to sufficiently large units in order to ensure high quality service and professionally competent personnel.
The reform shall safeguard linguistic equality by providing services and administration in Finnish, Swedish and different Saami languages.
People should have the possibility to promote their own wellbeing as well as that of their loved ones. The role of local services is to support this goal. Third sector organisations play an important role in promoting human welfare and providing peer support.
Proactive measures improve the quality of human life. They are also sensible when it comes to the society as a whole.
Investing in proactive work, and in functional and easily accessible basic health care and social services will delay or eliminate the need for heavy services.
Social welfare and health care services for children, young people and families must also be offered in connection with the educational services provided on the municipal level. The services should be carried out at homes and within early childhood education and schools. Appropriately-timed and early support teamed with strong services and family work that are accessible from one’s home diminishes the need for child protective services and special services. When necessary, families with children must be able to get help with their daily lives through, for example, the use of service vouchers.
Wellbeing services counties and municipalities create opportunities to advance wellbeing in co-operation with companies, organisations and parishes. It is important to the Centre Party that the residents, companies and communities also have the chance to directly influence and participate in the promotion and development of wellbeing and safety.
There is a continuously growing demand for competent personnel within the health and medical care sector, the social service sector and rescue services. The attractiveness and holding power of these fields must be maintained through collaboration with the municipalities. Effective methods to ensure this include nationwide education, competitive pay, good working conditions and incentives. We also need to draw competent workers from abroad in order to secure a sufficient number of social and health care personnel.
Health and social services should inherently involve compliance with good personnel policies and administration as well as open dialogue and co-operation. It is justifiable to demand better management. This is the way to enhance the wellbeing of employees. Continuing education, further competence training and guidance is needed. The Centre Party promotes wellbeing services counties as family-friendly and flexible workplaces that take the different life situations of employees into consideration.
We promise further investments in informal care. In order for caregivers to be able to take days off, as is their right, they must have access to a safe respite caregiver or care facility. Family care must be developed, so that it might be utilised more often as a form of respite care. Family care can be arranged in the home of either the caregiver or the person being cared for.
Science, technology and digitalisation create new possibilities to produce and realise health and social services. Research data and practical experiences must be utilised as a means of improving the availability and accessibility of care and treatment.
Services are not always bound to a specific place or time. Service production should take advantage of traditional physical services as well as diversely drawing on all that new technology has to offer. Mobile services that can be taken to or near to customers shall be developed.
The trend of living in multiple locations is increasing. As services are being planned, they should take into account the fact that people often reside in multiple locations. Access to health and social services must become more flexible.
The whole country and all of the wellbeing services counties must develop their patient information systems towards a more functionally integrated entity. This would improve the continuity of care and patient safety, and would help direct resources to where they will best benefit the people.
The social welfare and health care services of the future are provided through collaboration with companies and organisations. Successful service design or new ways of utilising technology and information require an opportunity for innovations to be put into practice. Wellbeing services counties offer social welfare and health care actors a reference platform from which to work.
With the introduction of new wellbeing services counties, the administration of health and social services will become simplified, democratised and transparent. Responsibility for services will shift from the current 200 social service and health care organisations to 21 wellbeing services counties and the City of Helsinki.
The arrangement and funding of services shall go hand-in-hand throughout the entire wellbeing services county. This will minimise the jostling around of people from one service to another and the shift of costs for others to bear. Efficiency will accrue savings. This is why cost pressures are best controlled by investments in local services, the assurance of rapid access to services and the prevention of illnesses and disease.
Municipalities and wellbeing services counties assume different but complementary duties. They are partners with one another, concurrent and equal actors. Co-operation between the wellbeing services counties and municipalities is necessary, particularly in terms of services for children and young people and the promotion of health and wellbeing. Increased co-operation and division of work between wellbeing services counties is necessary.
As part of the arrangement of the services, the discretionary power of small and remote municipalities shall be safeguarded in order to avoid the centralisation of local services in large population centres. Regional equality within each wellbeing services county and its municipalities shall be safeguarded, for example, through the requirement of a 2/3 qualified majority for decisions related to the service network. Local committees and other similar organs shall be utilised for preparation and decision-making. This shall guarantee broader-scale democracy and the participation of the people.
The social and health care service reform will significantly affect the future duties and economy of the municipalities. The State shall ensure that the wellbeing services counties have sufficient resources for the organisation of these services. The result of the reform cannot be that municipalities end up experiencing financial difficulties nor that individual people accrue unreasonable additional costs.
The wellbeing services counties shall assume responsibility for the properties of the current service providers through long-term agreements, not simply for a mandatory three-year period. The municipalities cannot be forced to keep the properties on their balance sheets contrary to their will. They shall be paid an appropriate compensation for their properties of at least the book value of the properties themselves.
A reform of this size must be advanced gradually, in phases. In the first phase, the health and social services, and rescue services shall become the responsibility of the new wellbeing services counties.
In the future, the duties of each county shall be expanded. The aim of the Centre Party is to enact, as soon as possible, genuine and independent regional administration in which counties are given broad discretionary authority on issues that concern them. The people of the region must be included in decision-making that affects them.
For this reason, the power must be moved from the ministries and other areas of central government to bodies closer to the people as regards matters where multidisciplinary democratic guidance brings added value. These are duties that require discretion. The highest decision-making body in the counties is the regional assembly chosen through direct election.
The counties will assume duties currently assigned to regional councils, such as regional development tasks, advocacy, regional planning and central government tasks carried out regionally and which are related to the promotion of trade and business activities. Transport development duties and environmental protection are issues that should be decided according to the local needs and views within the municipalities and counties.
The counties are different. Each county is the expert on its own issues. Legislation should leave room for flexibility to organise services in the way that is most appropriate for the individual counties. The counties must be able to apply legislation to local issues which concern them instead of being dictated to by ministries and other areas of central government. Looking beyond its special status, we can learn a lot from the autonomous regime of Åland in terms of creating regional administration on mainland Finland and strengthening the specificity and individual identity of the individual counties.
The introduction of county income tax will be assessed in connection with the expansion of the field of tasks to be assumed by the counties. Any future increase in the duties of the counties must not reduce the duties of municipalities contrary to their will. If county taxation is taken into use, the overall level of taxation cannot be increased. The rate of the county income tax, if enacted, would be so low that it would not level out regional disparities.