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Wednesday's papers: Fed up nurses, rising taxes and a new measles case

Finland risks hemorrhaging nurses, many municipalities raise taxes and an unvaccinated child contracts measles.

Health care professionals speculate that the patient most likely contracted the disease while vacationing in northern Finland. Image: AOP

With nurses' collective agreements up for negotiation this spring, both Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) and business magazine Talouselämä (siirryt toiseen palveluun)focus on issues that deter people from the profession, such as poor pay and high pressure, leading to demoralisation among many nurses.

You can listen to our weekly All Points North podcast about Finland's collective bargaining system via this embedded player, Yle Areena, Spotify, iTunes or your normal pod player using the RSS feed.

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Nurses: Poor pay drives us away

TE reports that there’s a risk of Finland losing nurses to Norway and Sweden, where monthly pay is some 5,000 and 4,000 euros, respectively. In Finland, nurses can at most expect to gross 3,000 euros per month.

Eighty-five percent of nurses have considered changing fields, according to nursing union Tehy, writes HS, with 14 percent contemplating a career change every week.

Over the next 15 years, Finland will, however, need to recruit some 200,000 healthcare workers, in part to care for the ageing population.

This spring Tehy plans to join forces with Super, another union representing nurses, to demand a 1.8 percent annual wage increase every year until salaries in the sector are on par with wages in male-dominated fields.

Playing catch-up

Fifty-three Finnish municipalities decided to raise the municipal tax rate this year to cover the cost of public services, writes HS (siirryt toiseen palveluun). The hike will affect some one million residents.

With a shrinking tax base, many rural municipalities are struggling to pay for elderly residents' medical care as young taxpayers flock to urban centres.

However a handful of small municipalities lowered their tax rates in an effort to entice new residents. In hopes of attracting more workers for a local battery chemicals plant, Sotkamo in the north lowered its local tax rate from 21.25 to 19.75 percent.

Unvaccinated child contracts measles

Satasairaala hospital has diagnosed measles in an unvaccinated child in Huittinen, southwest Finland, reports HS (siirryt toiseen palveluun). The hospital said the patient most likely contracted the disease while vacationing in northern Finland.

Health officials in the area are now examining the immunisation records of the child’s schoolmates in order to quickly fill any gaps in their vaccination history.

Vaccinations in Finland are not compulsory and authorities will not force parents to take their children in for regular jabs.

Early symptoms of measles infection include a high fever, inflamed eyes and difficulty breathing.

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