FSHS Act passed – preparations for future expansion will start immediately
Mar 1, 2019
Government Bill on healthcare for university students was approved by the Finnish Parliament on 1.3.2019.
“This is good news. The statements by the key parliamentary committees processing the bill and the Social Affairs and Health Committee memorandum on the bill were positive, and Parliament found it easy to agree with these views. It is important for Finland’s future as a whole that we take good care of young students’ health”, says Katariina Poskiparta, Managing Director of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS).
Strong basis for expansion
The Act on the FSHS will come into force on 1 January 2021. The Finnish Student Health Service will start preparations to serve double the number of clients immediately. There is already a strong basis for expansion, with important new practices and service channels introduced in recent years in the context of normal development activities.
“Our work is based on a nationwide patient data system with integrations with national systems, ready-built operating structures and multidisciplinary collaboration networks to promote health in student communities. We listen to students’ wishes and needs, and in response have developed our service channels and introduced in recent years digital solutions that are also cost-effective and that can be scaled up to help us serve a growing and diverse student population. The solutions we have introduced to develop our work will help us greatly as we expand our operations”, Poskiparta explains.
From the Finnish Student Health Service’s point of view, expansion will also involve challenges.
“We have excellent capability for expansion but of course this is now a time when we need to show what we are worth. The actual execution will be key – how we succeed in changing our service production, creating an appropriately sized network of units, and in our human resources policy”, Poskiparta comments.
Equality is our overriding aim
The Act on university student healthcare aims to secure smoothly functioning and equal healthcare services for university students, including those studying at universities of applied sciences. This will also guide the work of the Finnish Student Health Service during the construction of its new service model and network of units.
“This is the starting point for the revision of our operations. We want to be a health service provider that lives by its values – equality, courage and caring”, Poskiparta says.
Poskiparta believes the new legislation goes a long way to meeting the service needs of young adults, and services will not change significantly as a result of the expansion. The FSHS will continue to provide primary-level student health services, and Section 17 of the Health Care Act will remain mostly unchanged. The most important issue is the understanding and expertise that the FSHS has accumulated on developmental features related to young adults and how these affect students’ well-being and health service use.
“In principle, students studying at universities of applied sciences are young adults who use services in much the same way as our present clients. It is nevertheless difficult to say whether there is an unmet need in some specific services; it may also be, for example, that not everyone has sought out municipal services”, Poskiparta says.
Equality will also be the starting point when building the new network of units. The FSHS aims to ensure that services are available and accessible to all clients.
“Our unit network will be based on student numbers at different institutions. At this point, it is too early to say anything certain about the number, size or location of units. The new contract period for the network of units at applied science universities will start in 2020 and may still be subject to change.”
Further information: Managing Director Katariina Poskiparta, tel. 050 396 0010