Tuesday's papers: New government crisis, home care problems, Estonian booze prices and Selänne's crowning glory

Tuesday's newspapers include stories on wrangling in the government, problems with home care, a jump in alcohol prices in Estonia and hockey legend Teemu Selänne's elevation to the NHL Hall of Fame.

Finland seems to be making a habit of government crises, and this week is shaping up to be the start of another one. At issue is the proposed reform of health and social care (known as 'Sote', its Finnish acronym) that will bring in private providers and transfer responsibility from municipalities to 18 new regional governments. Except there are constitutional issues with the private provision aspects of the reform, and if that is delayed the National Coalition Party is keen to delay the regional government side of things.

Parliament's constitutional law committee is due to offer an opinion on the matter on Friday, and politicians were on Monday trading barbs over the plans. Ilta-Sanomat's comment piece on Tuesday outlines the state of play as things stand.

Expert opinion and a broad consensus in parliament holds that expanded private provision will, according to IS, increase inequality in healthcare and fail to meet the cost saving goals set for the 'Sote' reform. If that is dropped, though, the National Coalition has said it will not allow the regional government plan to proceed.

IS points out that the NCP might prefer to hold new elections and then try to form a government as the largest party in parliament, given that it is riding high in the polls right now. Such a move would be ironic given the convulsions the third government party Blue Reform has gone through to prevent the government collapsing--19 MPs now sit as a breakaway group in parliament, having left the Finns Party in order to prop up the Juha Sipilä government.

Home care in crisis?

Helsingin Sanomat's lead story is an investigation into home care in Finland. The paper has found that more and more people are being cared for in their own homes, but the number of staff has not increased. Although the percentage of over-75s using home care services has not increased, longer life spans mean that the absolute number has jumped markedly as increasing numbers of people in poor health and of advanced years live out their lives at home rather than in a care facility.

The Institute of Health and Welfare calculates that it has declined, but that's disputed by municipalities who say they buy a lot of services from external providers that don't show up in the statistics.

The trend, however, is towards lower standards in care with nurses not given enough time to perform their duties. Sheets might go unchanged, an aspect of the care routine might go undone, and staff turnover can prevent caregivers building a rapport with their patients and gaining a deeper understanding of their needs.

Union officials interviewed by HS say that employers now track their nurses down to the second, and that kind of time-tracking does not allow for the personalised care that employees want to provide. The profession is also losing people, with long hours and stress causing ever-longer sick leaves.

Estonian booze tax

IS also has important news for those planning a trip to stock up on summer booze: changing prices south of the Gulf of Finland. Estonia is hiking booze taxes from Saturday, and IS has the scoop on exactly how much 96 cans of industrial lager will cost day trippers in future.

A crate of Karhu, one of the big Finnish beer brands, can be obtained today for 12.99 euros at the cheapest Tallinn retailers. That jumps to 16.21 euros on Saturday, with staggered increases planned up to 2020 when the same 24 cans will cost some 19.51 euros.

That's a huge jump, and the effects could include more Finns travelling to Latvia to buy their alcohol. IS also asked the Taxpayers' association in Finland about the issue, and they suggested Finland might now have room to raise alcohol taxes once again.

Selänne serenade

Every newspaper covers the elevation of hockey legend Teemu Selänne to the NHL Hall of Fame. The news was announced late on Monday, Finnish time, adding the 46-year-old to the pantheon of hockey greats.

Only one other Finn--Jari Kurri--is in the Hall of Fame.

"This is the biggest possible honour that a hockey player can receive and a wonderful way to end my career," Selänne told STT. Selänne played 21 seasons in the NHL, scoring 684 goals and winning the Stanley Cup once, in 2007.

Read other news on the city site of Helsinki.

yle.fi
Parliament'sconstitutionallawcommittee governmentcrisis
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in february
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
The coach of a sports club in Hyvinkää, southern Finland has been remanded into police custody on suspicion of sexual abuse of minors he was coaching, the Itä-Uusimaa police department said on Thursday. Officials said that they are investigating the case as suspected child abuse but did not disclose the ages of the alleged victims. The suspect in the case, a 50-year-old man, was remanded into custody on Wednesday. The suspected sexual abuse is believed to...
Society
Finns increasingly forego do-it-yourself construction of prefab elements in favour of completely completed homes. Turnkey homes (where homes are fully finished and owners can immediately occupy them) have become more popular than traditional house packages, says the Finnish Association for Manufacturers of Prefabricated Houses. “About 7,500 detached homes are built in Finland every year, and about 70 percent of them are prefabricated houses of some kind,”...
Society
THE FESTIVE ATMOSPHERE in the Helsinki neighbourhood of Arabianranta was visibly subdued on Tuesday, as residents mourned the death of a local child who is believed to have been murdered. While little information has been released to the public, it is known that the victim was murdered near their home on the night of Christmas Eve (December 24). The police apprehended a suspect at the scene of the crime, who has been confirmed as a 36-year old male. Whethe...
Society
One of Finland’s most famous seafaring vessels, the titanic icebreaker Otso, was deployed on its first mission of the winter season last night, keeping sea routes open for the 22nd year in a row. Late in the evening of Christmas Day, Otso, the crowning glory of Arctia Oy’s extensive fleet, departed from Helsinki’s Katajanokka Harbour, heading north to the Bay of Bothnia. The 7000-ton Polar icebreaker has been tasked with keeping waterways open between Oulu...
Society
Eight Finnish political parties have published their a statement on future climate policy goals in Finland. Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Centre) in November invited all nine parliamentary parties to join a task force established to find an agreement on new, more ambitious climate goals for Finland. The one-month project was led by Kimmo Tiilikainen (Centre), the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing. The Finns Party abandoned the task force last w...
Society
A 25-year-old man suspected of the sexual abuse of a girl under the age of 15 in Oulu, northwestern Finland, who was arrested in Germany last Tuesday is now reported to be at large. According to law enforcement officials in Oulu, the suspect was released by German police before he could be transferred to Finnish custody due to "a breakdown in communication between authorities". Oulu District Court ordered the suspect to be reprimanded into custody in absen...
Society
Finland’s high earners saw their real income grow more in 2017 than their peers in middle and low income groups, according to new data released by Statistics Finland on Tuesday. Incomes among the country’s highest income decile rose by 4.4 percent in 2017 compared to 2016, while the year-on-year increase was 1.3 percent for middle income earners. Incomes for the four lowest income deciles meanwhile grew by 1.2 percent over the one-year period. However amon...
Society
A man wanted in connection with a suspected arson attempt on a home in Helsinki’s Käpylä district was remanded into police custody on Sunday. The Helsinki district court has remanded a man suspected of attempted arson and attempted murder into police custody, ending a short-lived manhunt, police said on Sunday. The 25 year-old is suspected of using a Molotov cocktail to cause a fire at a flat in Käpylä, Helsinki last Monday. The apartment was completely de...
Society
Helsinki Central Library Oodi will opened its doors to the public on 5 December at 8am, a day before Finland’s 101st birthday. Designed by ALA Architects, this library of a new era is an ode to Finnish culture, equality and freedom of expression. Oodi offers everyone an open, public urban space at Kansalaistori Square, right opposite Parliament House. Central Library Oodi is an active and functional meeting point with 2.5 million expected annual visitors....