Finnish Politics This Week – Private Healthcare Glee!

Finland has a very profitable private healthcare system for those who can afford it, and a run-down public sector that badly needs resources to improve preventive medicine as well as to care for the growing needs of the ballooning elderly…

You can see the private doctors’ carpark is full of new big Teslas, and bulky SUVs from Mercedes to Porsches. It compares to the second-hand cars and bikes parked outside the public healthcare centres…

The public system has been systematically run down by an aggressive Finnish Doctors Union that deliberately limits how many doctors get trained each year, and by their aggressive lobbying for more private healthcare from private equity giants. These “cost efficient” corporates are able and willing to offer sumptuous remuneration for doctors and other key health workers, while paying low-paid staff much less, in fact less in many cases much less than similar public healthcare workers, many of whom are not always paid a living wage!

Public healthcare still works reasonably well when you are seriously ill or in need of surgery, even though waiting lists are long. Digital systems with patient histories are just starting to work but “family doctors” are still a dream, and preventive care does not happen because it does not happen.

There are just not enough general practitioners and specialists in the public sector. Too many of these highly trained people can radically increase their pay checks by working full time or part-time in the private sector. You may get to see a doctor after a long wait, but hardly ever see a specialist, except though a phone call when your general practitioner calls him or her.

Now our new right-wing government is telling us that we must cut the public sector budget and use private healthcare companies though payment vouchers! Their cost saving logic is based on their belief that private companies are more cost efficient than public healthcare. However, the reality is very different, as they well know.

Private healthcare has no monopoly on cost controls or efficiency. They want to maximize profits and develop themselves into natural monopolies. They already have a huge market share of healthcare for working people at horrendous costs. Companies are being forced to pay high costs for seeing a doctor (€200 to €300 an hour) and to pay for inflated laboratory costs. Furthermore, many private sector doctors are renting space at the private healthcare centers and have no interest to do preventive work. A sick worker is a gold mine… Thank God, they are not all bad apples, but plenty of apples are rotten…

Another thing about the private sector is that low-paid healthcare workers are now on strike because they are underpaid. How else can private equity function in the healthcare sector when they must run expensive surgeries and pay for expensive doctors. The answer is to pay the rest of the staff as little as possible!

You can be sure that things will hardly improve over the next few years because this new government is only looking to cut costs for healthcare, social care, and education. This was what they were doing when they held power for the last 16 years before the last government.

The Conservatives and the True Finns will be fighting, and workers in healthcare will be striking… Whatever post-election policies are agreed in the coming weeks between these 2 parties, there is little doubt that these agreements will be challenged in no time by the True Finns. They have a well-documented history of being turncoats and trouble makers…

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