Added: 03.01.2012 20:09
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Health care in the winds of change

The world-wide economic situation has fueled the discussion about financing and producing public health services and now is the time that the decision-makers must consider the best and the most cost-effective way to produce healthcare services now and in the future during the structural changes in finnish population.

The finnish healthcare will be confronting great challenges and changes in the forthcoming years. Not only the decrease of the labour force but also the increasing amount of senior citizens causes fear for the shortage of labour and therefore the lack of attractiveness of careers in communal health and social care. The changes in the law of health care last year caused the slight migration from public to private services in health care. This could be the natural selection to improve the quality of services but the private health care isn't a solution by oneself. At the moment the private sector holds a 23% part of social and health care services. Working groups of Ministry of social affairs and health care have been working on the operations model to improve the communal structure and health care services at the same time.

As we have recently started studies in Tampere University of Applied Sciences in master's degree programme in development and management of health care and social services we got a chance to pay a visit into the finnish parliament house as a part of a course. We asked these topical questions from newly elected Member of Parliament Sofia Wikman and also the representatives of Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Quite a few important issues came up from the conversation with parliament representatives, but the three most important seemed to be the change of the age and service structure, the collaboration between public and private sectors and the consolidation of municipalities. None of these issues is more or less important than the other, and they all have influence on each other. The changes in service structure is unavoidable due to consolidation of municipalities and also to provide the adequate services to increasing amount of senior citizens. Cooperation between different sectors is strictly needed to make these changes happen succesfully. Ms Wikman pointed out that only the strong and vital communes will survive in the future. Thus they need to be given more power to make independent decisions for social and health care and responsibility for organizing and financing the services.

Research question: How to improve the quality of public health services through the structure changes?

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