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Report: Flaws in health care system leave patients with sluggish access to treatment and service

Patients felt they had been bounced from one customer service point to the other before receiving the right treatment, reveals a report by the National Institute for Health and Welfare.

Rautalammin terveyskeskuksen ilmoittautumispiste.
Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos selvitti suomalaisten kokemuksia terveydenhuollon asiakkaina. Image: Joonas Nieminen / Yle

A new report by the National Institute for Health and Welfare exposes blatant flaws in the Finnish health care system.

Data from 2015 reveals just under half of patients received treatment quickly enough and only a third was able to participate in making decisions relating to their care.

The majority of problems had to do with integrating different services. Every other patient had been forced to deal with several service points before their issue was resolved. This could mean being in touch with a phone service and then dealing with the same issue in-person at a health centre.

A third of respondents felt they had been bounced around from one customer service point to another, and had had to explain their situation several times. One fourth of respondents said high fees or a poor financial situation had impacted the kind of service they received.

Patients with long-term illnesses or mental health issues, and those in a weaker socioeconomic position faced these problems significantly more often than others.

According to the report, health centres had the most problems while hospital policlinics ensured best access to health care services. Cities also ranked better than rural areas. 

Research manager Anna-Mari Aalto of the National Institute for Health and Welfare said these problems will be addressed in the health, social services and regional government reform.

”Our central goals are to improve patients’ rights and secure equal access to services,” Aalto stressed.

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