Duties and other activities of the wellbeing services counties
The wellbeing services counties are self-governing regions that took over responsibility for organising healthcare, social welfare and rescue services as of 1 January 2023. These duties were previously the responsibility of municipalities.
There are a total of 21 wellbeing services counties. In addition, the City of Helsinki is responsible for organising healthcare, social welfare and rescue services in its area, and the HUS Group is responsible for organising specialised healthcare in Uusimaa.
Wellbeing services counties can also agree to handle their duties together. This cooperation can take many forms. Counties can establish joint decision-making bodies or joint public posts. They can also enter into agreements on handling official duties or establish joint county authorities for wellbeing services.
However, the responsibility for organising services cannot be transferred to a joint county authority, as joint county authorities can only handle duties related to the provision of support services.
Wellbeing services counties have what is called a restricted general mandate. Wellbeing services counties do not have an unrestricted general mandate in the same way as municipalities, rather the counties can only decide to take on duties that support their statutory duties.
The wellbeing services counties receive most of their funding from the central government. The counties have no right to levy taxes.
The residents of counties have the right to vote in county elections, in which representatives are elected to the county council, which is the county’s highest decision-making body. County elections are held every four years.