The year 2021 was the second consecutive year of the coronavirus pandemic, and HUS continued to play a major front-line role in combating the disease.
The year was colored by waves of coronavirus variants that burdened medical care resources at regular intervals. Towards the end of the year, the number of infections skyrocketed to record levels due to the highly contagious omicron variant. However, thanks to vaccinations the incidence of severe forms of the disease decreased.
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, we continued to do our basic work, and demand for our services recovered from the previous year in the year under review. HUS specialist medical care and emergency departments treated a total of nearly 670,000 patients. We received 1 300 elective referrals every weekday on average. The number of patients waiting for surgical procedures, other procedures or ambulatory surgery remained high. Dealing with the care deficit accumulated during the two years of the coronavirus pandemic will take a long time.
The coronavirus pandemic also continued to foster financial uncertainty. The HUS Council confirmed a EUR 15 million surplus as the financial performance goal for the financial period, instead of the previous break even goal. This was due to the uncertainty caused by the care and service deficit caused by the epidemic. Per capita costs for specialist medical care in HUS member municipalities were EUR 1,044 on average in 2021, about 3.4% less than in the previous year.
The past two extraordinary years have been challenging particularly for our employees. They have had to go the extra mile time and time again, and there is no denying that the pandemic has caused great fatigue. At the same time, the personnel survey showed the positive finding that employees felt they had found support. Improvements were noted in most areas surveyed. Investments in leadership and supervisor work were reflected in the survey findings. In 2021, the findings of our personnel survey regarding supervisor work improved in almost all profit areas.
In June 2021, Parliament approved the Government bill proposing legislation establishing the wellbeing services counties and enacting the national reform of health care, social services and rescue services. Ownership of HUS will be shared by four wellbeing services counties to be established in Uusimaa and by the City of Helsinki. With the health, social and rescue services reform, HUS will be re-established. This will redefine the organization and administration of Joint Authority HUS, the composition of its Executive Board, the structure of its ownership steering and its funding model. Intense preparations for the establishment of the new HUS Group began in the autumn and will continue throughout 2022.
Come and see what we did at HUS in 2021!