Minister of Social Affairs and Health Kaisa Juuso (PS) spoke to reporters in the Parliament House in Helsinki on 13 September 2023. Juuso on Tuesday told YLE that Finnish social and health care services are not funded as well and are, in many regards, not as good as in other parts of the EU. (Roni Rekomaa – Lehtikuva)


FINNISH social and health care services are not as well funded and are, in many respects, not as good as in other parts of the EU, Minister of Social Affairs and Health Kaisa Juuso (PS) viewed on YLE A-studio on Tuesday.

“It’s a known fact that the costs of well-being services counties will increase during this and next electoral term, and it’s been calculated that [the increase] will be at least three billion euros this electoral term,” she stated on the topical affairs show.

The government has pledged to commit at least three billion euros for compensating for the projected rise in costs during this term, she reminded.

The government, however, is simultaneously urging the 21 counties to rationalise their operations in a way that balances their budgets by the end of 2026. Calculations by the Ministry of Finance suggest that the counties will have a combined budget deficit of 1.2 billion euros in 2023.

Santeri Seppälä, the director of the well-being services county of Southern Savonia, told the public broadcasting company that counties have asked for additional time to patch up their deficits, adding that the tight timetable is the primary reason for the financial woes.

“Three years is way too short a time period. The best measure for the despair would be to extend the time window,” he argued.

Juuso said the government has had discussions about the situation but does not consider an extension necessary at this stage. “We’re monitoring the situation closely,” she assured.

Markku Pekurinen, a professor emeritus at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), reminded on A-studio that Finland is spending less on elderly care and special healthcare than the EU average. Denmark, Norway and Sweden, for example, are all spending more, relative to the gross domestic product, on health care than Finland.

“For us to reach the Nordic level, we’d have to invest many billions in social and health care,” he stated.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT