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Healthcare and social services in Helsinki to be reformed

Health and social services reform logo


Preparations for the health and social services reform are underway in Helsinki.

Parliament approved and the President confirmed the acts pertaining to the restructuring of health care, social welfare and rescue services in June 2021.

The new health care and social services model divides Finland into 21 wellbeing services counties. The social welfare, health care and rescue services that municipalities are currently responsible for will be transferred over to these wellbeing services counties. However, unlike other municipalities, Helsinki will remain responsible for organising the health care, social welfare and rescue services in its area, and will not be part of any wellbeing services county.

Uusimaa will be divided into five areas: Western Uusimaa, Eastern Uusimaa, Central Uusimaa, Vantaa-Kerava, and Helsinki. In Uusimaa, the joint county authority for the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa will be responsible for providing specialised medical care.

The new Social Services, Health Care and Rescue Services Division will be established in Helsinki on 1 January 2023. The rescue services will be transferred from the Urban Environment Division to the new division, where they will constitute their own service entity.

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

In Helsinki, the health and social services reform is being prepared in two project entities: in the Structural Reform project in 2020−2021 and in the Future Health and Social Services Centre project in 2020−2023. The health and social services reform is being prepared as part of the ongoing development of the Social Services and Health Care Division. The steering group for the preparation work consists of the management group for the Social Services and Health Care Division and additional participants.

The health and social services reform is being prepared with state funding. In 2020, Helsinki received state subsidy in the amount of approx. EUR 12 million for the structural reform and approx. EUR 6.6 million for the Future Health and Social Services Centre project of the health and social services reform. In December 2021, Helsinki received additional state subsidy in the amount of approx. EUR 13.1 million for the Future Health and Social Services Centre project.

In addition, Helsinki has been granted state subsidy in the amount of approx. EUR 2.7 million for the development of services for the elderly for 2022–2023. The measures focus in particular on the development of services that support living at home.

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.

The City-level steering group

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.

Division for the Reform of Social Welfare, Health Care and Rescue Services

In September 2021, the Division for the Reform of Social Welfare, Health Care and Rescue Services was established under the City Board.

The task of the division is to control and monitor the planning and preparation of the reform. The division makes proposals to the City Board on changes to the city’s management system and organisational structure related to the reform.

The division was established for a fixed term and will be operational until 31 December 2022.

The website of the division (in Finnish)

Structural Reform

In addition to services, the health and social services reform will reform structures and 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. Improved coordination of service entities and avoidance of overlap will help to control cost increases.

The Structural Reform project that lasted from June 2020 to December 2021 focused on

  • reinforcing the role as 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 together with the new well-being services counties of Uusimaa)
  • developing management and implementing knowledge-based management, and
  • preparing other actions related to controlling cost developments, such as HUS steering.

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

The Structural Reform project ended at the end of 2021. The work done in the project will be 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.

The final report on the Structural Reform project (pdf in Finnish)

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.

Main points for development

The project will focus on 13 main points for the reform of the social and health services:

  1. Becoming a customer and development of mutual work according to the customer segmentation
  2. Developing the brand Stadin sote as well as its ongoing attractiveness
  3. Access to non-urgent treatment within 7 days
  4. Development of mental health services
  5. Preventive/detective work, support for those at risk of becoming marginalised
  6. Functional building of the concept ‘Future health and social services centre’
  7. Integrating the services for the disabled into the social and health care services entity
  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 efficacy of home care
  13. Contract management and development of the multiproducer model


Contact persons

Structural Reform project

Project manager, Mia Käyhkö mia-selene.kayhko@hel.fi
Project manager, Katja Tenhovirta katja.tenhovirta@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