A record number of practical nurses and other healthcare professionals are requesting that the right to practise their profession be removed, National Supervisory Authority for Health and Welfare (Valvira) says.
The authority has already granted the removal of 30 licenses, with more than 20 applications still pending.
"In the past we would receive some 20 applications in an entire year," Valvira manager Kirsi Liukkonen says, adding that the amount of applications received in 2022 alone is bigger than all the applications received in the past few years altogether.
Healthcare professionals, regardless of where they have received their training, need to apply for the right to use a protected occupational title and the right to practice their profession in Finland. The applications are processed by Valvira.
Sometimes, professionals request the removal of their license. Typical reasons include retirement, health reasons or a change of career, according to Liukkonen.
Even though such instances are rare, former healthcare workers can request for the return of their license if they wish, the healthcare services expert says.
Pandemic and patient safety law behind frustration
Both the pandemic and the heavily contested patient safety bill are thought to be behind the recent hike in termination applications.
If passed, the bill in question could allow management to order striking nurses to do urgent work, but only as a last resort to ensure patient safety. Government debated on the legislation on Thursday but decisions for its ratification are yet to be finalised.
Last Friday saw some 25,000 nurses across Finland stage a walkout in protest of poor pay and working conditions. Social affairs and health politics researcher Liina-Kaisa Tynkkynen says that recent discourse suggests nurses are unhappy with the government's focus on the safety bill rather than addressing the actual reasons behind the healthcare staff shortages.
The pandemic has also witnessed numerous workers, especially those from the public sector, switch careers due to difficult working conditions and exhaustion.