Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) told YLE on Sunday that the detection of discrepancies in the operations of Esperi care is an indication that supervision works in Finland. (Credit: Eeva Riihelä – Lehtikuva)

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PRIME MINISTER Juha Sipilä (Centre) has raised eyebrows with his remarks about newly publicised problems in the operations of Esperi Care.

Hoivakoti Ulrika, a nursing home operated by the privately owned social and health care service provider in Kristiinankaupunki, Western Finland, was shut down temporarily due to a number of serious discrepancies and negligences on Thursday by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira).

Sipilä on Sunday told YLE that the fact that the supervisory authority intervened in the operations is an indication that supervision works in Finland.

“I’ve also been informed that the company in question has admitted its mistakes and the pieces are therefore there for it to rectify its operations,” he stated. “We’ve had quite a few [private] companies providing nursing and care services for decades in Finland. We have good experiences of them, [but] there are also bad experiences. It’s clear that shortcomings must be addressed.”

Many opposition members and social and health care professionals have expressed their dismay at the remarks of the prime minister.

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Hanna Jokinen, a member of the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses (Super), asked how can supervision work if there have been numerous complaints and a several-year wrangle over staffing requirements between Esperi Care and Valvira.

“How many more elderly people have to die before you understand the reality?” she asked Sipilä on Twitter.

“Several serious negligences are believed to have led to a death in Kristiinankaupunki. But Juha Sipilä says the case shows that supervision is working. What on earth?” commented Lauri Finér, a tax policy advisor for the Social Democrats.

“I wonder if it’s time to fess up about the problems of privatising social and health care services,” added Finér.

Tehy-lehti, the member publication of the Union of Health and Social Care Professionals in Finland (Tehy), reported last year that over half of the respondents to its member survey said understaffing is compromising patient safety at units operated by Esperi Care.

“Ghost employees, medicinal anomalies and violations of employment conditions were an everyday occurrence at the elderly care units of Esperi,” it reported in early 2018.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi