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Thursday's papers: Top European healthcare, new Children's Ombudsman and back to winter

Finnish healthcare success, Children’s Ombudsman losing his job and the return of winter are among today's headlines.

Pohjois-karjalan keskussairaala
Image: Ismo Pekkarinen / AOP

The Finnish healthcare system is among the best in Europe, says daily Helsingin Sanomat. Based on a study by Swedish research company Health Powerhouse, Finland ranks sixth among 35 European countries.

According to HS, the Euro Health Consumer Index commends Finland for its wide range of healthcare services offered at a relatively low price.

The study compared 48 indicators, including patient rights, access to care and treatment results. In the last category, which measured child mortality, deaths caused by cancer and heart attack and the number of abortions and suicides, Finland fared as well as this year’s winner Switzerland, HS writes.

There is room for improvement, however, as queues for certain treatments such as cataract surgery are long and the healthcare system does not sufficiently focus on preventative care, the paper says.

In addition, patients in Finland pay a larger share of prescription drug costs out of their own pocket than in many other European countries, HS writes. After Switzerland, the continent’s best health care is offered in the Netherlands and Norway, the study showed, while Albania, Romania and Hungary hold the bottom spots.

New Children's Ombudsman

Tuomas Kurttila will not serve as Children’s Ombudsman after April, reports daily Keskisuomalainen. The government will appoint a new ombudsman on Thursday, but Kurttila is not among the possible appointees.

The Children's Ombudsman monitors the welfare of Finnish children and youth and tries to influence politicians to make decisions that benefit children.

The position has a five-year term and Kurttila’s term will come to an end this spring. He reapplied for the job while he is also running for Parliament as a Social Democratic Party candidate in the general election.

On his Facebook page, Kurttila points out that his term has not been without successes. For example, he proposed to the justice ministry that child marriages should be banned. Parliament unanimously approved the proposal last week.

Kurttila came under fire in December following news reports that he had spent more than 5,000 euros on cab rides in three months. He had, for example, taken a 600-euro taxi trip to travel from Oulu to Jyväskylä - a distance of 340 km.

At the time, Kurttila said his frequent use of cabs was based on time savings concerns, workplace well-being and the conversations he has with taxi drivers.

Winter returns

Meanwhile, tabloid Iltalehti writes that after a spell of spring weather winter will return with a force on Thursday. Northerly winds will pick up, with a forecast of snow.

“Even though snowfall will not be that heavy, it could have an effect on traffic on Thursday,” says meteorologist Jenna Salminen from Foreca. “It’ll be a mix of snow and sleet and mostly just rain along the coast,” she adds.

While temperatures will be above zero on Thursday morning, they will drop below freezing across the country during the day. Biting winds will make the situation worse, IL writes.

“This kind of change in weather is not very exceptional. It just feels that way, because in recent times we have become used to warmer temperatures,” Salminen says.

What’s more, next week will be even colder and nighttime temperatures could fall to -15 degrees Celsius, including in southern Finland. Nevertheless, some days will be sunny, so there is no reason to be too disappointed, IL says.

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