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Draft government proposal on the reform of the organisation of rescue services circulated for consultation

Ministry of the Interior 15.6.2020 12.47
Press release 63/2020
Fire trucks.

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Interior request comments on the draft government proposal concerning the health and social services reform and the organisation of rescue services. The act would lay down provisions on, for example the organisation of rescue services, and the system of management and coordination as well as development and oversight of rescue services.

Under the draft proposal, rescue services would in future be organised by the health and social services counties and the City of Helsinki, which would also be responsible for organising health and social services in their areas. Rescue departments could continue to provide prehospital emergency medical services for healthcare. Rescue services would, however, continue to be a separate sector working in parallel with the healthcare and social welfare sector.

Central government guidance and direction aims to achieve national efficiency and more harmonised rescue services

As a result of the reform, the role of central government guidance and direction in rescue services would be strengthened. Stronger national guidance and direction would improve the provision of more harmonised and equal rescue services throughout the country. The aim is also to develop the operations of rescue services as a national system.

The Government would confirm the national strategic objectives for rescue services for a four-year term. The Government could also decide on the centralisation of some special tasks carried out by the rescue services so that these are handled by one or more health and social services counties.

The Ministry of the Interior would guide and direct the organisation of the rescue services of the health and social services counties and the City of Helsinki. The health and social services counties and the Ministry of the Interior would hold annual negotiations to provide guidance and direction concerning the organisation of rescue services. In addition, an advisory board for rescue services would be established under the Ministry of the Interior. The ministries responsible for the guidance and direction of the health and social services counties and the health and social services counties would participate in the work of this board. 

The Regional State Administrative Agencies would oversee rescue services and their service level, which should correspond to national, regional and local needs and threats of accidents.

Rescue services personnel, equipment and fire station leases transferred to health and social services counties 

Since the rescue services would be transferred from municipalities to the health and social services counties, rescue services would, in future, be funded from the Budget. The funding would depend on the number of inhabitants, population density and the risk factor.

Under the draft act implementing the reform, the personnel of the existing rescue departments would be transferred to the employment of the health and social services counties on current terms and conditions. Similarly, the rescue services' equipment would be transferred to the health and social services counties.

The properties owned by municipalities and contract fire brigades would remain in their ownership, and the current fire station leases would be transferred to the health and social services counties on current terms and conditions. The assets of the current statutory joint municipal authorities would be transferred to the health and social services counties. 

Contract fire brigades' fire service contracts would be transferred on current terms and conditions from municipalities to health and social services counties.

The draft act on organising rescue services follows the policy outlines set out in the health and social services reform. The proposals for an act on health and social services counties, an act on organising health and social services, an act on the funding of health and social services counties and an act implementing the reform are circulated for consultation at the same time, and any amendments to be made to them on the basis of the opinions may also affect the proposal for an act on organising rescue services.

The deadline for submitting comments is 25 September 2020.

Correction on 16 June: The Ministry of the Interior requests comments on the draft government proposal together with The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Ministry of Finance.

Inquiries:

Kimmo Kohvakka, Director General for Rescue Services, tel. +358 295 488 400, [email protected]

Ilpo Helismaa, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 488 422, [email protected]