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City of Helsinki’s health and social services to be reformed

Preparations for the health and social services reform are underway in Helsinki. A new Social Services, Health Care and Rescue Services Division will be established in Helsinki on 1 January 2023.

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Health and social services reform in Helsinki

Preparations for the health and social services reform are underway in Helsinki. The City of Helsinki will reorganise its healthcare, social welfare and rescue services according to the new model from 2023 onwards. However, unlike other municipalities, the City of Helsinki will remain responsible for organising the healthcare, social welfare and rescue services in Helsinki, and it will not be part of any wellbeing services county. The City of Helsinki will establish the new Social Services, Health Care and Rescue Services Division on 1 January 2023. The Rescue Department will be transferred to the new division from the Urban Environment Division.

Finland’s population is aging rapidly and requires more services than before. Helsinki has its own special challenges: faster population growth than in the rest of the country, immigration concentrated in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, increasing challenges in children and young people’s mental wellbeing, and wellbeing inequality between residents.

The health and social services reform will shift the focus to basic services and early prevention. Another objective is to provide people with quicker access to care. Addressing problems early reduces the need for specialised healthcare and demanding special services, and it also reduces their costs. The clients can use digital and low-threshold services smoothly and more than before.

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The City of Helsinki is preparing the health and social services reform through two projects: the Structural Reform project  (2020−2021) and  the Future Health and Social Services Centre project (2020−2023).

Read more about the health and social services reform projects

The City of Helsinki is preparing the reform as part of the continuous development of the health and social services sector. The steering group for the preparation work is the management group of the Social Services and Health Care Division, with additional participants.

Key interest groups, such as residents, employees, organisations and associations, have had opportunities to participate in the preparation of the reform.

Read more about the role of organisations in preparing the health and social services reform (in Finnish)

City-level steering group

The health and social services reform will have a significant impact on the operations of the entire City of Helsinki. The effects will be greatest for the Social Services and Health Care Division, but the reform will also affect the City of Helsinki’s administration, economy, financial systems and the organisation of decision-making, as well as the Rescue Department. That is why a city-level steering group was established for the reform in February 2021. The steering group coordinates the City of Helsinki’s city-level planning for the realisation and execution of the health and social services reform and related preparations.

The city-level steering group is chaired by City Manager Sami Sarvilinna and vice-chaired by Head of the Social Services and Health Care Division Juha Jolkkonen. The steering group consists of representatives of the City Executive Office, the City of Helsinki’s divisions, the Rescue Department and City of Helsinki personnel.

Sub-committee for the Reorganisation of Health Care, Social Welfare and Rescue Services

In September 2021, the Sub-committee for the Reorganisation of Health Care, Social Welfare and Rescue Services was established under the Helsinki City Board.

The Sub-committee is tasked with directing and monitoring the planning and preparations related to the reorganisation. The Sub-committee presents proposals to the Helsinki City Board regarding changes to the City of Helsinki’s management system and organisation structure.

The Sub-committee will continue its operations until 31 December 2022.

Website of the Sub-committee for the Reorganisation of Health Care, Social Welfare and Rescue Services (in Finnish)

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Organisations and the health and social services reform

Organisations have played a key role in preparing for the health and social services reform in Helsinki.

At the start of the project, the City of Helsinki launched cooperation with Kumaja, the partnership network of the social service and healthcare organisations of the Uusimaa region. The network’s operations ended in early 2021.

The City of Helsinki also started a dialogue with organisation experts from the Uusimaa region who are involved in the ‘Järjestöjen sote-muutostuki’ project entity. ‘Järjestöjen sote-muutostuki’ (meaning ‘health and social services reform support for organisations’) is a project entity formed by the Finnish Federation for Social Affairs and Health (SOSTE) and regional network partners.

The nationwide project entity ensures that organisations are taken into consideration when the reform is prepared and implemented. Organisation experts form an overview of the regional cooperation with organisations, inform organisations of the reform progress and ensure that the appropriate organisations participate in the preparation work. The ‘Järjestöjen sote-muutostuki’ project is now representing health and social service organisations in the steering group of the Future Health and Social Services Centre project.

As part of the health and social services reform, the City of Helsinki Social Services and Health Care Division and Culture and Leisure Division are working together to examine the current status and organisational options of services at the interfaces of the city and the third sector.

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Webinar on the Social Services and Health Care Division’s grants to organisations on 10 May 2022 

On 10 May 2022, the City of Helsinki held a webinar on the impact of the health and social services reform on grants to organisations for 2023. The event was particularly aimed at operators intending to apply for the Social Services and Health Care Division’s grants for 2023. The webinar provided an overview of the situation and initiated a discussion between the City of Helsinki and the organisation sector. The City of Helsinki partnered with the ‘Järjestöjen sote-muutostuki Uusimaa’ project for the event.

We will also publish more information about grants to organisations on the Organisational cooperation and grants (in Finnish) web page.

Webinar materials (PDF, in Finnish)

Discussion event held by the City of Helsinki for organisations on 10 May 2022

In addition to holding a webinar on grants to organisations, the City of Helsinki also invited Helsinki-based organisations to a joint discussion event at Helsinki City Hall on 10 May 2022.

The City of Helsinki is currently preparing a city-wide model for organisational cooperation and grants to organisations as part of the reorganisation of the City of Helsinki’s healthcare, social welfare and rescue services. The city will also examine the models for resident participation and cooperation with residents, and the new negotiation obligation related to the promotion of wellbeing and health. Another area to be examined is support for the operating conditions or organisations and their opportunities influence things.

The City of Helsinki also conducted an online survey via the kerrokantasi.hel.fi participation service. The survey focused on organisational cooperation, the organisation of the City of Helsinki’s grant operations, resident participation, and cooperation with organisations in promoting wellbeing and health. The survey was open from 4 to 11 May 2022.

See the survey results here (in Finnish)

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Projects related to the health and social services reform

The City of Helsinki is preparing the health and social services reform through two projects: the Structural Reform project  (2020−2021) and  the Future Health and Social Services Centre project (2020−2023). 

The health and social services reform involves reorganising the services and structures and creating a new administrative structure to support the organisation of services.

The objective is for the City of Helsinki to use more efficient and effective management and steering models in the future as an organiser of health and social services. Better coordination of departments and eliminating overlaps will help control the rising costs.

The Structural Reform project ran from June 2020 to December 2021. It focused on:

  • reinforcing the role of the services organiser and developing the steering of service providers
  • reviewing the physical and digital service network and planning the necessary reforms
  • defining the key service chains and entities (the integration spearheads of the Specialised Medical Care Guidance project will be determined together with the new wellbeing services counties of the Uusimaa region)
  • developing management and implementing knowledge-based management
  • preparing other actions related to controlling cost developments, such as steering the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa (HUS)

The structural reform involved cooperation at the level of the Uusimaa region regarding the organisation and steering of specialised healthcare, and collaboration. The City of Helsinki coordinated this cooperation.

The Structural Reform project concluded at the end of 2021. The work carried out in the project is being utilised and continued in the Future Health and Social Services Centre project. The final report on the Structural Reform project was completed at the end of January 2022.

Final report on the Structural Reform project (PDF, in Finnish)

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The City of Helsinki is developing healthcare and social services in the Future Health and Social Services Centre project. The project continues the previous service reforms carried out by the City of Helsinki.

The objectives of the project include:

  • improving equal access to services, as well as the timeliness and continuity of the services
  • shifting the focus to preventive and proactive work
  • ensuring the quality and effectiveness of services
  • strengthening the multi-professionality and compatibility of services
  • controlling the rising costs

The Future Health and Social Services Centre will consist of the services offered by three existing operating models: health and wellbeing centres, family centres, and senior services. The project will develop these operating models further based on the project’s objectives.

Development focus areas

The project focuses on 13 focus areas in the reform of health and social services:

  1. Development of cooperation and the process for becoming a client according to client segmentation
  2. Development of the Stadin sote brand and its initial and long-term attractiveness
  3. Access to non-urgent treatment within seven days
  4. Development of mental health services
  5. Preventive/outreach work, support for persons at risk of social exclusion
  6. Planning of the practical aspects of the Future Health and Social Services Centre concept
  7. Integration of disability services into the range of health and social services
  8. Diabetes centre
  9. Service chains for domestic violence, and substance abuse services for children and families
  10. Immigrant work
  11. Digital services
  12. Development of the performance of home care
  13. Contract management and development of the multi-producer model

Contact persons

Project Manager Anne Ojanen, anne.h.ojanen@hel.fi
Coordinating Project Manager Lars Rosengren, lars.rosengren@hel.fi

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Service packages

The City of Helsinki’s health and social services comprise three types of service centres: health and wellbeing centres, family centres and senior centres. The service centres offer a comprehensive range of services for their respective client groups under one roof.

The health and wellbeing centres provide healthcare and social services for the working-age population. The services include health station, dental, psychiatric and substance abuse services; youth and adult social work and social guidance services; rehabilitation services; disability services and laboratories.

Health and wellbeing centres currently in operation:

Kalasatama Health and Wellbeing Centre
Vuosaari Health and Wellbeing Centre

The Myllypuro Health and Wellbeing Centre will operate at multiple locations as a network for the time being.

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The family centres offer basic services for families with children, as well as early support and special support services. The services include maternity and child health clinics, home services, speech therapy, the Family Counselling Office, physiotherapy and child welfare services.

Family centres currently in operation:

Itäkatu Family Centre
Kamppi Family Centre
Kallio Family Centre
Vuosaari Family Centre

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The senior centres offer day activities, evaluations and rehabilitation, and long-term and short-term housing services to older people. Some senior centres also include an informal care activity centre.

The senior centres also offer service centre activities to anyone who is retired or unemployed.

Helsinki has currently 10 senior centres.

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Newsletter offers progress updates on the health and social services reform

The City of Helsinki publishes a newsletter on the progress of the health and social services reform in the city. The newsletter is available in Finnish only.

Subscribe to the newsletter on the health and social services reform via the link below.

Subscribe to the newsletter