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The Wellbeing Services County of Southwest Finland

The Wellbeing Services County of Southwest Finland is the third largest wellbeing county in terms of population and second largest in terms of personnel.

The Wellbeing Services County of Southwest Finland in a nutshell

  • The total population in 2023 is approximately 490,500 inhabitants.
  • Nearly 24,000 personnel work for the wellbeing services county.
  • Bilingualism, academic character and diversity are unique characteristics of our wellbeing services county. The municipal structure of the county is multi-faceted, with no less than 27 municipalities in our region, which contributes to a fragmented system of services. 
  • The wellbeing services county is working on the reform in collaboration with every actor across Southwest Finland.

The Wellbeing Services County of Southwest Finland consists of

  • Southwest Finland Hospital District (VSSHP)
  • Specialist care services, i.e. KTO (Support and Expertise Centre for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities) and Kårkulla (Kårkulla Municipal Joint Authority)
  • Southwest Finland Centre of Excellence in Social Services Vasso
  • Southwest Finland Rescue Department
  • Southwest Finland Joint Authority for Child Welfare
  • 27 municipal social and health care services (municipalities in alphabetical order)
    • Aura
    • Kaarina
    • Kemiönsaari
    • Koski tl
    • Kustavi
    • Laitila
    • Lieto
    • Loimaa
    • Marttila
    • Masku
    • Mynämäki
    • Naantali
    • Nousiainen
    • Oripää
    • Paimio
    • Parainen
    • Pyhäranta
    • Pöytyä
    • Raisio
    • Rusko
    • Salo
    • Sauvo
    • Somero
    • Taivassalo
    • Turku
    • Uusikaupunki
    • Vehmaa

Coordination of bilingual wellbeing services county services

Linguistic equality is also important: all services must be equally available in Finnish or Swedish. Our county is strongly bilingual: 5.7 per cent of the population speak Swedish as their first language.

The Wellbeing Services County of Southwest Finland has the responsibility for coordinating services provided in Swedish.

  • Relevant considerations include e.g. the structure of the organisation and administration, the administrative code, the language programme, the strategy, the tasks delegated by the national language board, finances and budgeting, management and competence, the reverse qualification requirement, and the provision of services.
  • According to preliminary information, the Ministry will grant funding to facilitate bilingual coordination.
  • Discussions were initiated through the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities and the Swedish Assembly of Finland.

In addition to Southwest Finland, bilingual wellbeing services counties include:

  • East Uusimaa
  • West Uusimaa
  • Central Ostrobothnia
  • Kymenlaakso
  • Ostrobothnia
  • Vantaa-Kerava + Helsinki

The National Language Board is tasked with investigating and assessing the availability and quality of services in Swedish as well as performing other tasks stipulated in the Act on the Welfare Services Counties.

Bilingualism is an opportunity

As of January 2023, the wellbeing services counties will, for example, be responsible for the following public services

  • Primary health care, e.g. health care clinic receptions and their inpatient wards
  • Specialised health care, e.g. the various hospitals of the Turku University Central Hospital (Tyks)
  • Emergency medical services, such as ambulances
  • Fire and rescue services
  • Oral and dental health care
  • Mental health and substance abuse treatment services
  • Mother and child health clinics
  • Adult social work
  • Child welfare services, e.g. the Southwest Finland Joint Authority for Child Welfare
  • Disability services
  • Housing services for the elderly
  • Home care
  • Rehabilitation services.