Helsinki’s sustainable growth project

Under its sustainable growth project, the Social Services, Health Care and Rescue Services Division of the City of Helsinki aims to improve access to health and social services by streamlining clients' treatment and service paths and by developing preventive and digital services. 

Our development measures in Helsinki are part of the Sustainable Growth Programme for Finland, which supports growth that is ecologically, socially and economically sustainable in line with the aims of the Government Programme. The Sustainable Growth Programme for Finland is funded mainly through NextGenerationEU, the European Union’s economic recovery package to help economies and societies recover from the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goals of the project

Within the project, the Social Services, Health Care and Rescue Services Division aims to:
• speed up access to treatment and secure the availability and continuity of treatment, services and rehabilitation
• promote and maintain the ability of Helsinki residents to lead an active life in collaboration with the Culture and Leisure Division, the City Executive Office and a number of organisations
• support better information management through the promotion of improved record-keeping and constructive social work recording
• provide treatment, care and rehabilitation services as well as digital solutions that support customer participation.

Target groups

Our project targets vulnerable people who have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
• minors and young adults with diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health problems and/or substance abuse problems
• the families at risk of social exclusion
• people with or at risk of chronic illness
• elderly people in need of care, rehabilitation and services.


The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health of Finland coordinates funding aimed at strengthening the availability and cost-effectiveness of health and social services. Measures to achieve these goals are currently being implemented here in Helsinki as well as in all wellbeing services counties in Finland.

Helsinki has received project funding for the years 2022–2025. The City has been granted a total of 23 million euros to develop its services during 2023–2025, building on the planning work done in 2022.

The project is implemented through about 30 sub-projects. Its implementing partners are the Social Services, Health Care and Rescue Services Division of the City of Helsinki, the Culture and Leisure Division of the City of Helsinki, HUS and the networking NGO HyTe ry. The project is led by Maarit Sulavuori. The project manager is Taina Hussi.

Some of the development and implementation work in Helsinki was started already under the health and social services reform, the government’s Future Health and Social Services Centres programme, and the KUSTI project on cost-aware home care.

The project supports the Service Strategy and the 2023-2026 transformation programme of the Social Services, Health Care and Rescue Services Division.

Why are development measures needed?

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant backlog in the provision of care and services, as we had to direct resources towards vaccination efforts and meeting the needs of COVID-19 patients. Helsinki residents experienced this in the form of reduced access to health and dental care services, reduced availability of preventive services, and social care services being increasingly provided remotely.

The COVID-19 pandemic also left some children and young people without the support they needed, especially when schools switched to remote teaching and student health care was not available as normal. The pandemic will continue to impact the health and social services system as new treatment, service and rehabilitation needs surface with a delay, for example, within the work of the mental health and substance abuse services and the rehabilitation services for the elderly.

The reform of the healthcare and social welfare legislation, implemented as part of the Finnish government’s national service reform, aims to improve the efficiency of health and social services, reform operating practices and develop remote and digital services. The vision is effective social and health services. Our work in the project contributes to the achievement of the goals of the service reform.

Find out more about the Sustainable Growth Programme for Finland at Innokylä (in Finnish only): 
Sustainable Growth Programme for Finland | Innokylä(Link leads to external service)

Read more about the topic

New well-being services will support vulnerable people in particular | City of Helsinki (19.12.2023)