Looking forward towards responsible growth
When I started as CEO at the beginning of 2019, the Executive Board and I designed focus areas for the CEO, and progress in them was monitored throughout the year. Everything that we did in 2019 can be found within these focus areas, roughly speaking.
It was good that we were able to adopt a forward looking approach right from the start. Focus area planning allowed us to think far ahead, and I hope that this will give our operations clarity for outside observers too.
The focus areas also helped us address matters less than pleasant for HUS and correct them. These included procurements not put to tender and the status of specializing physicians.
In 2019, we designed a new, values-based strategy for HUS for the period 2020 to 2024. We invested heavily in laying down a clear foundation of values on which we can build a shared workplace environment. The shaping of our values – Caring, Equality and Pioneership – in cooperation with personnel was in itself a contribution to the common good. ‘Caring’ in particular is a value that resonates, because we all have experience of how to engage with people and how not to.
The Strategy is intended to provide us with a roadmap to the day after tomorrow. Despite financial challenges, we must prepare for growth in the coming years. This growth must be responsible, however. In addition to environmental and social responsibility and good governance, we must consider economic responsibility in particular. Local government finances being in the poor state that they are, we must be particularly careful and innovative in how we use taxpayer money.
Central government grants to municipalities have shrunk by a couple of billion euros over the past ten years, and the financial challenges of local government will inevitably be reflected on us. In order to keep Finland’s health care system at least at its present level, we need public debate about values to determine how society is going to allocate its public funds. Cutting corners in health care seems wrong, considering that the population is ageing and the need for services is increasing.
The year 2019 also saw preparations for the great social welfare and health care reform. Although the preparation of the reform collapsed early in 2019, it was revitalized with a special arrangement planned for Uusimaa. Looking into the future from the perspective of our personnel, patients and moderate cost growth, it was important to establish certain parameters for this special arrangement: HUS will not be divided up, and the special national roles of HUS will be recognized even up to being enshrined in legislation.
I feel positive about the future. There are challenges facing us, but they are not insurmountable. We have a lot of smart people working here who want to contribute to the common good.
Juha Tuominen, CEO