Steering of social and health services

Governmental steering will be strengthened in healthcare and social welfare to provide more equal services to people everywhere in the country and the increase of costs will be mitigated.

The steering of healthcare and social welfare will diversify as the number of actors and instruments steering the system increases. Steering will change from hierarchical steering towards steering in networks.

The Act on Organising Health and Social Services contains several provisions on the steering of the counties' operations. Strong steering ensures that the services will be more customer-oriented, compatible and effective in a cost-effective manner.

According to the draft bill for the Act on Organising Health and Social Services, the general steering, planning, development and supervision of healthcare and social welfare will continue to be the responsibility of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health also in future. The Ministry will be responsible for preparing the national targets for healthcare and social welfare and ensuring that they are paid attention to in the operations of the counties. The Ministry will have a steering unit for this purpose.

Government will confirm the strategic targets

Every four years, the Government will confirm the national strategic targets for the organisation of healthcare and social welfare and, as necessary, specific strategic targets for each individual county. The targets will secure the integration and equal availability of services, the freedom of choice, residents' rights to participation and language rights.

The Government may decide on the cooperation agreement of counties and its content and on the division of responsibilities in healthcare and social welfare between the counties if the counties in the cooperation area cannot reach an agreement on the cooperation agreement concerning healthcare and social welfare or the confirmed agreement would threaten the equality of the residents.

The Government may make decisions binding the counties on the measures required for the development of the healthcare and social welfare service structure and on the implementation of investments and information system services with wide-ranging effects if the service structure in the county does not ensure equal availability of services or equal quality, impact or productivity of services.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the counties will have annual negotiations on the implementation of health and social services and their development needs. The realisation of the agreed targets would be monitored together. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health will prepare a report annually on the equal availability of services, their quality and the sufficiency of funding. The report will include a proposal for the required measures that would be taken into account in the plans for public finances, in the state budget and in the strategic healthcare and social welfare targets.

The task of the National Institute for Health and Welfare will be to monitor and assess the health and welfare of the population and the healthcare and social welfare organised by the counties.

The county will draw up a service strategy

The county must, as part of its county strategy, prepare a health and social services strategy for the planning and management of its finances and activities. In the service strategy, the county will decide on the long-term targets for the healthcare and social welfare that are its responsibility. In the service strategy, the county will also decide on the targets concerning the minimum of services procured from health and social service providers. In addition, the service strategy must specify which part of procurements will be subjected to competitive bidding in order to develop new solutions for improving the innovativeness and cost-effectiveness of services.

Furthermore, the service strategy of healthcare and social services must take into account the integration of the services within the scope of the client's freedom of choice and other health and social services in such a manner that the services needed by clients form the required entity.

Draft bills:


Kirsi Varhila, Director-General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 338
Pasi Pohjola, Director, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 585