There is no such thing as public opposition to renovating a hospital for children, especially those with serious illness. Taxpayers are always willing to bear the cost of such projects if and when they are needed.
No ordinary person, business leader, politician would not jump on a bandwagon to demand such renovation if the present hospital facilities were lacking. Helsinki has one of the best and biggest public and university hospital systems in the world where the very young and the very old receive adequate professional treatment.
We have always had one of the finest public children’s hospital called the “Children’s Castle” that was opened in 1917. Almost every Finn can recall the important work done for by Professor Arvo Ylpö (1887- 1992) a doctor who is seen as the father of Finland’s public child welfare clinic system. That is his photo above.
But it is heartless to see how a current Minister of Transport together with a group of bankers, and a few other politicians and business folk have jumped on this bandwagon to build a new children’s hospital that they claim is a “private endeavour” that is rented out to our public sector for a few decades!
It was recently opened and many can only gasp at the extravaganza that has been allowed to be built.
The cost was meant to be some €160 million but the final cost was above €180 million, a major cost overrun that appears to be financed ordinary expensive bank loans have been used even though such projects normally enjoy low coast financing from Municipal Finance, the municipal sector’s own bank.
The private sector funding through donations was relatively small and the funding from the municipalities very large! There was no lack of money or construction skills in the public sector for such hospitals – this project was hijacked by a minister who wanted favourable publicity, claiming at the time that she could build it faster and on budget better than the public sector.
The project has received lots of publicity – much more than any other hospital has ever received because it is rather fancy and appears to be full of art treasures and rather ordinary digital solutions…
Now recent articles in the press describe confusion over the procurement of fine art with money from donors amounting to a million of euros specifically donated for art in the hospital – yes , one million euros…
Finland is in the middle of one of the biggest healthcare reforms, the aim of which is to save €3 billion over the next decade because we have a rapidly ageing population and a low birth rate… and yet here is a minister who is spending taxpayers money apparently in a care free manner by hanging expensive art works on the walls. Is that what seriously ill children really need?
Can somebody please explain why the public sector has to pay extra costs for her services as Chairman of a Foundation that effectively leases the whole hospital to the public sector, even when the project was funded mainly by the public sector?
Naturally our Prime Minister has only supporting words for this Minister who is “Making Finland Great Again”.