Ministry of the Interior to reform rescue services
Minister of the Interior Petteri Orpo will set up a project to reform rescue services. The reform will be implemented based on the autonomous areas to be established in connection with the social and health care service structure reform, and following the same schedule. Mr Orpo presented the proposal to the ministerial working group on reforms on 17 September.
Rescue services are currently provided by 22 rescue departments in cooperation between municipalities as provided by law. The number of new autonomous areas will be decided this autumn in connection with the social welfare and health care reform.
According to the Government Programme, the national direction, planning, guidance, supervision and coordination of rescue services will be reinforced and enhanced. In the current, scattered system, it has been difficult to ensure uniform operating practices and services and compatible information systems at national level.
The reform is aimed at creating a more efficient and cost-effective system of larger rescue service regions with capacity for emergency preparedness and response also in case of exceptional major accidents or natural disasters. Another aim is to use the resources efficiently, while ensuring the operational preparedness of rescue departments.
In addition to enhancing the effectiveness of rescue services, the reform will ensure the benefits of cooperation between rescue and social and health care authorities in emergency medical services, in particular. First response and emergency medical duties are performed cost-effectively by the national network of rescue services. Approximately 70–80 per cent of emergency medical care is provided by rescue services. The provision of emergency medical services is a good example of excellent cooperation both between public authorities and with contract fire brigades.
The Ministry of the Interior will start drafting the necessary legislation without delay. The rescue service reform will be implemented in parallel with the social welfare and health care reform so that the responsibility for the duties will be transferred from municipalities to autonomous areas as from early 2019.