Last autumn and winter were particularly challenging times at the South Karelia Central Hospital in the eastern city of Lappeenranta.
At that time, the health care firm Attendo (now Terveystalo) was unable to provide the requisite number of on-call duty doctors for all shifts, and the acute shortage of doctors sometimes caused hours-long queues for patients.
The pressure on the on-call duty doctors at the hospital became even more burdensome in the winter when the emergency rooms of two health centres were closed down in the city.
In order to attract more doctors to the area, communications staff at the South Karelia Social and Health Care District (Eksote) began brainstorming a campaign aimed at recruiting young doctors.
The fruit of their labours was published just before Midsummer on social media, and showed a shirtless young man leaning on a convertible car while holding a pineapple-shaped glass containing a soft drink and a text promising "top pay, more free time and great working colleagues".
Ad prompted "clear spike" in applications
The advertisement was on display for a few days, until it was withdrawn at the behest of Eksote Chair Marja-Liisa Vesterinen.
However, despite the short life span of the ad, it did attract plenty of attention. Pekka Korvenoja, chief of paramedics and emergency services, said that 22 doctors contacted the hospital after the running of the ad, expressing their interest in performing on-call duties at the central hospital.
"There was a clear spike in applications," Korvenoja said, adding that the number of inquiries from previous job announcements could be counted with the fingers of one hand.
Korvenoja believes that the publicity the ad received was an influential factor in the volume of inquiries received, and that the success of the short-lived campaign was evident in the fact that inquiries came from both inside and outside Finland.
Specialists still needed
Although the situation regarding on-call duty doctors seems to be brighter as the autumn approaches, the medical deficit at the South Karelian Central Hospital has not been completely eliminated.
A few permanent medical posts are still open for applications. The hospital is currently looking for a number of specialists in different areas, and there is a particular need for doctors specialising in acute medicine.
"It is a very important area from the perspective of emergency care," Korvenoja told Yle.
Korvenoja also suggested that medical students could do part of their nine-month compulsory health centre training at the Central Hospital instead, in an effort to further alleviate the situation.