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Monday’s papers: Finnish health centre crisis, big earners, and wintry weather in store

The press today reports on the emergency situation facing Finland's healthcare centres, the big annual reveal of who earned how much in 2018, and the start of winter.

Lääkäri laittaa suojakäsineitä
HS reports on the crisis facing healthcare centres in Finland. Image: Derrick Frilund / Yle

On Monday Helsingin Sanomat (HS) reports that there is a crisis facing healthcare centres in Finland.

According to the Finnish Medical Association (FMA), health care centres are experiencing their biggest crisis in history largely because funding for healthcare centres has remained at the same level for the last 15 years although demand for healthcare services has dramatically increased.

“The longer one lives, the more chronic illnesses arise, ” Samuli Saarni, president of the FMA, told the paper, referring to the impact of an ageing population on healthcare costs.

In recent years, healthcare centres have also been given added responsibilities including specialised medical care, which means aftercare and follow-up duties that were previously handled elsewhere.

More work, same budget

Healthcare centres’ portion of the total healthcare bill was 20 percent of the overall medical budget in 2000, whereas now it’s at 13 percent. In terms of euros, healthcare centre funding is at the same level as it what is in the 2000s, writes HS.

According to Saarni, the number of doctors has not increased on par with the larger workload – for example, in the last 15 years 4,200 new doctors have entered the workforce but only 330 of them have gone to work in healthcare centres.

Doctors are now responsible for extra paperwork, including renewing electronic prescriptions and these time-consuming tasks take away from the time they spend with patients.

“The current set-up doesn’t support doctors spending as much time as possible with patients,” Saarni told HS.

As a result of the backlog, which has caused long line-ups for medical appointments, both patients and doctors have gone elsewhere. About 1.1 million people living in Finland have now opted for private medical insurance, according to HS. Every second child has private medical insurance, which means that they don’t need to use the public healthcare centres. Despite this, the public healthcare centres are still under strain.

Public healthcare centres have lost experienced doctors and gained more young doctors (those under 30 and those between 30-39).

“As a result, burnout by young doctors at healthcare centres is more common and not surprisingly,” Saarni told HS.

The new government announced in October that it has earmarked an additional 70 million euros for healthcare centres to address the crisis in an effort to decrease wait times, and hire additional doctors.


The rich get richer

All the papers have extensive data, stories and background on the release of 2018's tax data.

Iltalehti was early, reporting ahead of Monday morning’s official announcement by the tax authorities of who Finland’s top earners were for the 2018 tax year.

IL reports that real estate mogul Jethro “Jeti” Rostedt earned more than one million euros last year. His official earnings were 1, 056,071 euros, a significant increase over the previous tax year when Rostedt earned 670, 800 euros.

The realtor, a familiar face from many TV shows, told the paper that the money he’s earned has required a lot of hard work and he’ll continue “to work with humility.”

Winter on its way

Meanwhile, Ilta-Sanomat, the sister tabloid of HS, reports that the weather will be wintry weather throughout the country on Monday, with temperatures in many regions below zero degrees Celsius.

Ilta-Sanomat reports that it will be windy in southern and central regions, and in southern Lapland.

In the country’s southern and central regions temperatures will be between 0-5 Celsius, and between minus 10 and 15 degrees in Lapland.

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