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Finland probes providing hospital beds for Ukrainian war wounded

The measure may require postponing some non-urgent surgical procedures, the Helsinki and Uusimaa hospital district's Chief Medical Officer said.

Meilahden sairaala-alueen rakennuksia.
File photo of Meilahti hospital in Helsinki. Image: Matti Myller / Yle
Yle News

Authorities are making preparations to provide hospital care in Finland to people who were injured in the ongoing attack in Ukraine.

The country's largest hospital district, HUS, in Helsinki and Uusimaa, has already received inquiries about the possibility of providing hospital beds for war wounded.

HUS' Chief Medical Officer Veli-Matti Ulander told Yle that plans are currently underway.

"Plans are in place and we are ready to receive patients if such a need arises," Ulander said, adding that people injured in the fighting could be given priority over non-urgent procedures or care.

However, he also noted that the Covid pandemic remains a significant burden on the district's resources.

"At the moment, we have no additional reserves, but if such a situation arises, non-urgent care might have to be postponed. But in an organisation of this size, some more patients can certainly be taken in with the resources we currently have," Ulander said.

In addition to the Covid situation, a threatened strike by the Union of Health and Social Care Services Tehy and the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses SuPer could hamper plans to care for war victims.

The two-week industrial action is scheduled to begin on Friday 18 March.

"Of course, this strike warning doesn't make the situation any easier," Ulander said.

He was also unwilling to comment on how the large number of patients currently being treated in hospitals might further exacerbate the situation, but added that HUS is responsible for arranging crisis management in Finland.

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