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Healthcare and social services in Helsinki to be reformed

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The preparation of the health and social services reform has started in Helsinki.

The Finnish government is proposing a new healthcare and social services model that includes 21 well-being services counties plus Helsinki. In the proposal, the Uusimaa region has been divided into five areas, which are Western, Eastern and Central Uusimaa, Vantaa and Kerava, and Helsinki. For the special-level services, Finland would have five collaborative areas.

The well-being services counties would assume responsibility for organisation of healthcare, social services and rescue services that are currently under municipalities’ responsibility. As an exception among the municipalities, Helsinki would remain responsible for organising healthcare, social services and rescue services in its area, and it would not be a part of a well-being services county.

Premises of the health and social services reform

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 metropolitan area, increasing challenges in children’s and young people’s mental well-being and well-being inequality between residents.

In the health and social services reform, the focus is shifted to basic services and prevention of issues. The objective is also to provide people with quicker access to care. When problems can be solved early, the need for specialised healthcare and demanding special services, as well as their costs, will decrease. The customers can use digital and low-threshold services smoothly and more than before.

In the reform, services will be developed and coordinated to prevent the service chain from breaking. The healthcare and social service professionals will direct the customer to the services where they can get the necessary individual help in a timely manner.

Preparation of the health and social services reform

The health and social services reform will be prepared in Helsinki in two project entities: the Structural Reform project and the Future Health and Social Services Centre project. We will prepare the reform as a part of the continuous development in the social services and healthcare sector. The steering group for the preparation work will be the management group for social services and healthcare with additional participants.

The steering of specialised healthcare, which is part of the Structural Reform project, has its own steering group, as preparations in this project section are made at a regional level for the entirety of Uusimaa. The steering group for the steering and development of specialised healthcare consists of representatives of the regions of Uusimaa (Helsinki, Vantaa and Kerava, Western Uusimaa, Central Uusimaa, Eastern Uusimaa) and the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa.

When realised, the health and social services reform will have a significant impact on the operations of the entire City. The effects will be greatest for the Social Services and Health Care Division, but the reform will also affect the City’s administration, economy, financial systems and the organisation of decision-making, as well as the Rescue Department. For this reason, a City-level steering group was established for the reform in February 2021. The steering group coordinates 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 divisions, the Rescue Department and City personnel.

The reform preparation work will be funded by the state. Helsinki has been granted a state subsidy of 12 million euros for the structural reform of health and social services, and 6.6 million euros for the Future Health and Social Services Centre project.

Key interest groups, such as residents, personnel, organisations and associations, will be given the opportunity to participate in the preparation of the health and social services reform.

Structural Reform

In addition to services, the health and social services reform will also change structures. In the structural reform project, we will create a new administrative structure to support the organisation of services.

The objective is that, in the future, Helsinki will use more efficient and effective models for management and steering as an organiser of healthcare and social services. Better coordination of departments and avoiding overlaps help us control the rising costs.

The Structural Reform project focuses on

  • developing steering
  • surveys and plans regarding the service network
  • defining service chains and entities
  • developing the management of the service network and service chains and knowledge management
  • unifying the solutions for information and communications technology
  • preparing other actions related to controlling other cost developments.

As a part of the structural reform, we will cooperate at the level of Uusimaa regarding the organisation, steering and collaboration of specialised healthcare. Helsinki will coordinate this cooperation.

Future Health and Social Services Centre

Healthcare and social services will be developed in the Future Health and Social Services Centre project. The project will continue the previous service reforms carried out in 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 pre-emptive work
  • ensuring the quality and impact 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 in the existing operating model, health and well-being centres, family centres and senior services. In the project, operating models will be developed based on the project objectives.


Contact persons

Structural Reform project

Project manager, Mia Käyhkö mia-selene.kayhko@hel.fi
Project manager, Anna-Liisa Arjama anna-liisa.arjama@hel.fi (special health care and cooperation in Uusimaa)

Social Services and Health Centre of the Future project

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