Finland is a nation of grumblers – really… Most people, meaning here older folk, are seldom satisfied with public services, yet we still end up as one of the richest and best educated countries in Europe. On top of all this, we also receive a regular gold medal for being the “Happiness Nation on the Earth”.
We pay our taxes dutifully, more than most countries, because we get rather good value for money with free education, reasonable public healthcare, and good clean infrastructure. We do not end up paying ridiculous sums for private schools, universities, and private hospitals…
Things would be much better if it was not for one of our biggest problems – the right-wing neo-liberals who want to privatise these basic services by putting profits into their own pockets and letting taxpayers carry the costs and losses of the private sector when things go wrong. And naturally the private sector never takes big risks – they remain firmly shoved into the public sector.
Healthcare has been the Holy Grail of the Conservative and Center Parties since 2007, when they remained in office up to 2019. They pushed hard and fast to get huge parts of our public health system into private hands. This policy did not create efficient preventive care, where doctors and healthcare specialists consult together, like they do in our public teaching hospitals. Nor did it reduce costs, with huge leaps in efficiency. Doctors and nurses were attracted from the public sector with better working conditions and more pay, creating a shortage of staff in the public sector. Most doctor-owners of private healthcare companies have become millionaires with flashy cars and long holidays.
Most of the ordinary doctors and dentists in private healthcare companies set up their own one-man or one-woman companies and get a surgery office to rent. They then pay for the healthcare companies’ website to market themselves, for administrative services like invoicing, for the procurement of equipment, and for operating tables.
They appear not to consult with one another because they basically compete for patients. Healthy patients are not good for business, but ones hooked up on a broad array of different drugs are!
Try getting a good private sector doctor after 17:00h, at the weekend, or during public holidays. During those days you should get what you pay for, but the opposite is generally true. You end up paying twice or three times the price for some junior, who was sent to service the late and public holiday rota. In fact getting to see any private doctor can take several days or a week of waiting…
The public sector shines. A call in the morning will be answered either directly by a nurse, or your number will be recorded with a promise to have a nurse call you back within a few hours. Depending on your illness or other medical need, the nurse will book an appointment quickly and efficiently. Laboratory and vaccinations are also available for free or for a low cost. Urgent and severe cases can be dealt with by ambulances and hospitals. Both systems work well even during post-covid.
Some may say that your correspondent is being too generous but his recent experience of being bitten by a tick and getting Lyme disease followed by a nasty touch of muscle and joint rheumatism proves the point as described above. Wonderful doctors, nurses, laboratory folk and great data systems where all the records of calendar appointments, doctors diagnosis, laboratory results, and comparative data, are available on the net in a single application in a safe and secure manner.
Progress have been rapid with good results – just like our education system which is still paid for by our taxes…