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Govt revises rescue services bill

Published : 14 Oct 2020, 15:56

Updated : 14 Oct 2020, 22:48

  DF Report

Government of Finland press release photo.

The Ministerial Working Group on Health and Social Services has reviewed the comments received in the consultation round organised on 15 June to 25 September on the draft health and social services (Sote) reform and outlined policies and made changes to the draft government proposal, said a government press release.

The draft bill will be submitted to the Finnish Council of Regulatory Impact Analysis (FCRIA) on 14 October. The government proposal is due to be submitted to parliament in early December.

According to the draft proposal, rescue services would in future be organised by the wellbeing services counties (called health and social services counties to date) and the City of Helsinki, which would also be responsible for organising health and social services in its areas. Rescue services would, however, continue to be a separate sector working parallel to the healthcare and social welfare sector.

A central concern expressed in the feedback was the adequacy of funding for rescue services and the criteria for determining the funding. The ministerial working group noted that according to estimates of the interior ministry, the funding base for rescue services would be transferred from the municipalities, as they would not be able to cover the funding necessary for organising the level of services required by law at the 2020 level. The interior ministry has estimated the total deficit at EUR 79 million, based on information received from regional rescue services.

Municipalities would be responsible for the level of services and the necessary funding in 2021 and 2022. The interior ministry and the finance ministry will reassess the level of funding to be transferred from the municipalities to the wellbeing services counties in terms of adequate funding for maintaining the statutory level of rescue services.

Based on the feedback received, the funding model will be adjusted with regard to the criteria determining the risk factors. The risk-factor contents will be defined in a government decree by the end of the year. Moreover, together with regional rescue services, the risk assessment model for rescue services that was used as the basis for the need-based criteria will be developed on a long-term basis,.

A new mechanism for oil-pollution compensation funding will be prepared in cooperation between the interior ministry, the finance ministry and the environment ministry. Currently, procurement of equipment and upkeep of oil-spill response are financed with the oil damage duty from the Oil Pollution Compensation Fund.