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Ministers Jutta Urpilainen (left) and Jyrki Katainen presented the settlement alongside opposition leaders Timo Soini and Juha Sipilä on Sunday afternoon.The Government and the opposition have reached an agreement on the implementation of the reform of social welfare and health care services. Five regional bodies, to be established on the basis of the current special responsibility areas, will in the future be responsible for the organisation of social welfare and health care services in Finland.

In addition, municipalities will participate in the production of the services.

“The settlement is not a watered-down compromise but a genuine nationwide reform,” lauded Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (NCP) on Sunday afternoon, as key cabinet members unveiled the settlement to members of the media alongside opposition leaders Juha Sipilä (Centre) and Timo Soini (PS).

Sipilä, the chairperson of the Centre, was reportedly the initiator of the negotiations.

The “giant leap forward”, Katainen emphasised, would not have been possible if all parties had not been willing to compromise.

“Only two weeks ago, I would have never thought that we could all compromise on our own primary alternatives,” the prime minister commented.

According to Katainen, the settlement resembles closely the proposal presented earlier by the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

The reform of social welfare and health care services is a crucial part of the belt-tightening measures the Government is poised to discuss as part of its framework session on Monday and Tuesday. The objective now is to finalise the bill on the reform by late May and to send it to local governments for comments in June, thus allowing the Parliament to discuss the bill next autumn. 

A parliamentary steering group led by Susanna Huovinen (SDP), the Minister of Health and Social Services, will be assigned to oversee the reform process.

Teija Sutinen – HS
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
© HELSINGIN SANOMAT
Photo: Sami Kilpiö / HS

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