Parliament voted on Tuesday to reject a move to delay a new reform of hospital accident and emergency services in Finland. The plan is that in future there will be 12 hospitals with broad, 24-hour emergency room services, down from the current 19—and the west coast city of Vaasa will not have one.
That has dismayed politicians from the Swedish People's Party (SPP), who fear that locating A&E services in Seinäjoki, 60 km inland from Vaasa, will imperil service in the Swedish language. There are around 90,000 native Swedish speakers in the region of Pohjanmaa, which surrounds Vaasa.
SPP MP Anna-Maja Henriksson had demanded that the decision be sent to the Constitutional Law Committee for re-consideration, as she claimed that the decision had been based on erroneous information from the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs.
MPs voted to reject that move by 94 votes to 65, with 40 legislators absent.
The reform is part of a broad reorganisation of health and social care in Finland that will move responsibility for those services from municipalities to 18 new elected provincial administrations.