Minister of Finance Petteri Orpo (left) and Minister of Social Services and Family Affairs Annika Saarikko (front right) said the government plans to earmark additional funds for supervising elderly care. (Credit: Antti Aimo-Koivisto – Lehtikuva)

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MINISTERS Petteri Orpo (NCP) and Annika Saarikko (Centre) revealed in the Finnish Parliament on Wednesday that the government will propose in its supplementary budget that additional funds be allocated for the supervision of elderly care.

“We’ll […] set aside more resources for supervision and the problems we’ve detected. We’ll intervene firmly and impose sanctions,” declared Orpo.

Uusi Suomi wrote about the scarcity of resources allocated for the supervision of elderly care in Finland on Tuesday, revealing that supervising elderly care on a nationwide scale is the responsibility of a single officer at the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira). In addition, supervision is conducted by roughly 20 employees at Regional State Administrative Agencies (AVI).

Saarikko on Wednesday said the supplementary budget draft will support the work of officers at both AVI and Valvira, “specifically to ensure they can address shortcomings based not only on complaints but also on independent inspections”.

The National Coalition, which is the only party that opposes calls to introduce binding statutory staffing requirements for nursing homes and other elderly services, reiterated yesterday that one binding number cannot be applied to all elderly services.

“We have to be very concerned that as the number of elderly people is growing rapidly – the share of over 80-year-olds will double over the next decade, if I remember correctly – how can we make sure that we really have the money to take care of everyone,” said Orpo.

“Officials at the Ministry of Finance are saying we should make fiscal adjustments of two billion euros, so where exactly is the treasure chest you plan to draw the money for all these good causes?”

Also Orpo admitted that more nurses and new guidelines for staffing requirements are necessary, but also reminded that the challenge will be how to determine the requirements.

“As is the government’s line, we want to fix elderly services,” he asserted.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi

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