Government plans new increase in elderly care staff

Finland lags behind other Nordic countries in the number of elderly patients each health care worker has to look after.

File photo of woman holding elderly woman's hand / Credit; iStock Photo

The government is planning an increase in the staff-to-patient ratio for elderly care, and it could mean 4000 more healthcare professionals are needed to meet the new target.

Minister of Social Services Krista Kiuru (SDP) is pushing forward with plans to redress the ratio in Finland which is currently 0.5 nurses-per-patient to 0.7 nurses-per-patient for round-the-clock care.

Health care workers in Finland have a tougher job than other Nordic countries where each nurse has to look after fewer elderly patients.

Kiuru says she’s taking expert advice on how to put the plan into action, but suggests that some of the new staff required could be found by converting part time jobs to full time positions.

Although there will likely need to be a transition period while more staff are recruited and trained, the government intends to set allocate money in the 2020 budget so that the current 0.5 level is maintained everywhere, while the new plan is being implemented.

Kiuru says that the government’s proposals for a binding minimum staffing levels will be submitted to Parliament during the autumn session.