High-quality social services and healthcare for all

The Left Alliance strives towards ensuring high-quality and equal social services and healthcare for everyone. Although services are generally on a good level, social and health disparities have been increasing continuously. The problem is that basic public services are insufficiently funded, queues are too long and the bureaucratic walls between the different organisations involved prevent customers and patients from using services in a flexible and meaningful way. The Left Alliance considers it to be of the utmost importance that Finland provides high-quality public social and health services for everyone residing in Finland.

Well-functioning preventive services and high-quality, timely treatment and care improve the overall health of the population and reduce health disparities. Although human wellbeing is, of course, valuable in itself, it also has financial implications: sufficient and timely support creates savings as people remain in good health and are sick less often.

The government is currently preparing a social and health service reform which will affect the administration and funding of social services and healthcare, service provider organisations and residents’ rights to use services.  Unfortunately, while social and health service reform is needed, Finland’s right-wing government has steered reform onto the wrong path and a project that once aimed to secure services is now a privatisation and corporatisation project. The Left Alliance calls for reform which is pro-democracy and pro-equality and enhances the rights of social and health service users in a cost-efficient way.

Representatives of The Left Alliance commit to the following goals:

Shorter queues
Access to services must be immediate and access to treatment sufficiently rapid. In particular, efforts must be made to improve the accessibility of primary health care and low-threshold mental healthcare. The service system must be seamless, and we must stop shunting people around and shifting responsibility from organisation to organisation.

More evenly distributed wellbeing
Public services must be improved so that all citizens have access to services that are as high quality as those provided by occupational healthcare. We must invest in social welfare to secure a minimum income and enable everyone to make ends meet. Every municipality must introduce a social lending scheme and ensure well-functioning debt counselling services. Gender effects must be evaluated in connection with the social and health service reform and any other major decisions, and gender equality must be taken into account in all decision-making.

A safe and dignified old age through sufficient nursing resources
Elderly care must not be diluted and nursing staff must not be reduced. The execution of the provisions of the Act on Supporting the Functional Capacity of the Older Population and on Social and Health Services for Older Persons must be monitored more effectively. The government decision to cut the number of nurses must not be implemented. In elderly care, time must be created for encounters, outdoor activities and recreational activities in addition to basic nursing duties.

Plenty of resources for preventive child welfare services and family services
More resources must be allocated to preventive services. The cost of pre-emptive problem solving and early intervention is smaller than after-care, both from a humane and a financial point of view. Families must be provided with tangible help at home and psycho-social support. Family work must form a single, seamless service entity in which families are not shunted around services.

Citizens must be heard in decisions that concern them
Disabled persons and other special groups must be allowed to decide where they live. Life-long services must not be tendered, but organised by means of individual budgeting. Patients and customers must be provided with more opportunities to influence the social and healthcare decisions and services that concern them.

Remove health centre fees
Everyone has the right to receive free, high quality healthcare services. Service fees must not be increased but lowered. Health centre fees must be abolished.

Services must not be privatised or forcefully corporatised
Services must be organised and provided publicly, while private and third-sector service provision complements public services. We must prevent the spillover of citizens’ tax money into international health giants and tax havens. Public services must not be forcefully corporatised, because this will lead to people being increasingly shunted around, break up service chains, and reduce democratic accountability. To ensure openness, the Act on the Openness of Government Activities must be applied to corporate public services.

Democratically elected regional councillors decide
Social and health service related decision-making must remain in the hands of democratically elected officials. Social and health services must not be corporatised and regions must not be forced to adopt the failed and bureaucratic purchaser-provider model. Regions must be given the leeway to make service-related decisions on the basis of regional needs and characteristics. To ensure autonomy, regions must have the right to raise taxes.

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