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Finland to promote consumers' freedom of choice in health care

Staff Writer |
The Finnish government has unveiled its draft bill to grant consumers greater freedom of choice in selecting their provider of health care and social welfare services.

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The draft bill has been designed to advance the position of consumers in the health care system, to promote quick access to health and social services, and to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of the services, according to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

“In the future, your call will be answered faster than today and you'll get to see a doctor when necessary,” Juha Rehula, the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, said.

Helsingin Sanomat reminds that while both experts and policy-makers across party lines acknowledge the importance of overhauling the health care and social welfare system, the means to do so remain a bone of contention.

The government's intention to promote the provision of market-based services, especially, has proven a hard pill to swallow, with the National Coalition advocating for an increasingly market-based system and both the Centre and the Finns Party expressing their concerns about its effectiveness.

The bill would enable consumers to sign up as a customer of the health care centre and dental care unit of their choice, and select the service point for using county-provided services, such as a hospital. The health and social care centres, meanwhile, would be able to determine a personal budget for and grant service vouchers to their customers for accessing services based on an assessment of the customer's service needs.

The government is to present its finalised proposal to the Parliament in January.


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