Bergqvist: Health care waiting times can be cut with versatile service vouchers

On January 25, Hoiva&Terveys news service and the SME organisation Suomen Yrittäjät arranged an election debate on the roles of the public and private sectors in social services and health care, and on how the objectives of the social and health services reform can be achieved in practice. SFP’s Member of Parliament and Vice Chair Sandra Bergqvist emphasised the need to increase cooperation between public and private health care operators.

“Long wait times are like a ticking health care bomb and we must do all we can to reduce the backlog that has built up after the Covid pandemic,” Bergqvist says.

SFP has long advocated for an increase in the use of service vouchers and it is now high time to develop their scope so that people can quickly access the care they need.

“Checking the website of a private clinic this morning, I found 488 available appointment times in Helsinki alone; the earliest at 8:15 am and the latest at 10:15 pm. We have to create means for people to use service vouchers to make appointments for consultations and treatments with private service providers.  If the private sector can help us to reduce wait times, it could also improve operations on the public side, because it will allow for the right care to be provided in the right place,” Bergqvist says.

Besides waiting times, also the health care personnel situation requires action.

“We must improve the working conditions of health care employees. They have to be able to influence their own ways of working, and we have to invest in improved leadership training and management. Health care working hours must also correspond better to child care opening hours and to schools’ morning and afternoon clubs,” Bergqvist says.

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