Health, social services and regional government reform to enter into force on 1 January 2020, county elections in October 2018

Government Communications Department 5.7.2017 14.15 | Published in English on 6.7.2017 at 16.07
Press release 331/2017
Health, social services and regional government reform to enter into force on 1 January 2020, county elections in October 2018

As a result of its discussions on 5 July 2017, the Government decided to continue the health, social services and regional government reform so that the reform will enter into force on 1 January 2020. County elections will be held in October 2018.

Legislative proposals under consideration in Parliament will be amended in accordance with the statement issued by the Constitutional Law Committee on 29 June 2017. As regards the Act on Freedom of Choice, the Government will issue a new government proposal in early 2018. Based on ministries replies, the Act on Organising Health and Social Services and the Counties Act, that are currently under consideration in Parliament, will be amended in parliamentary committees to meet the changes required by the Constitutional Law Committee. The legislative proposals on health, social services and regional government reform will not be opened in any other respect. In accordance with the Constitutional Law Committee’s proposal, the Counties Act, the Act on Organising Health and Social Services, and the Act on Freedom of Choice will be considered in Parliament in the same connection.

The Constitutional Law Committee does not find fundamental problems with the key elements of the health and social services reform relating to freedom of choice and the organisation and financing of services by the counties. There were also no serious problems with regard to the means of implementing freedom of choice, including health and social services centres, oral health services units, health and social services vouchers and personal budgets. However, the Constitutional Law Committee proposes several justified changes to them. Trials and pilot projects relating to freedom of choice will be advanced.

The preparation of the new legislative proposal for the Act on Freedom of Choice will be carried out as part of official duties only, and in line with the attached timetable. Public officials will prepare a comprehensive proposal for the Act on Freedom of Choice and it will then be considered by the reform group as a single package.

To ensure decision-making and the attainment of the three-billion-euro savings target set for the health and social services reform, the Ministerial Committee on Economic Policy will discuss the legislative proposal for the Act on Freedom of Choice prior to submitting the final government proposal.

The government groups are committed to the aforementioned measures and support the ensuing health, social services and regional government reform so that its implementation and entry into force will not be jeopardised in any respect.

Inquiries: Juha Rehula, Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, tel. +358 295 163 535, Anu Vehviläinen, Minister for Local Government and Public Reforms, tel. +358 295 530 256, Pirkko Mattila, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 525 and Paula Risikko, Minister of the Interior, tel. +358 295 418 801

Appendix: Preparation and implementation of the health, social services and regional government reform