The year 2021 was the second consecutive extraordinary year for HUS and everyone working here, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Employees had to go the extra mile even more often than usually.
In 2021, HUS shouldered responsibility in the region where the coronavirus pandemic hit hardest in Finland. Our employees were stretched to the limit for the second year running. I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all HUS employees for their coping, cooperation and commitment.
There is no denying the fatigue caused by the pandemic. Wellbeing at work and how employees cope with their workload are of paramount importance to us to be able to continue to provide the most effective care to every patient in Uusimaa and southern Finland and, under our nationwide responsibilities, anywhere in the country. We have to improve our personnel experience and thereby our image as employer on a continuous basis.
We hope that the global coronavirus pandemic will calm down this year, reducing the load on hospitals. However, we are still faced with uncertainty with regard to the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic has compromised access to treatment, and the major issues in 2022 will be how to return to normal and how we will be able to deal with the backlog. In many specialties, demand is outstripping supply. One of our concerns is the latent care backlog. It is very possible that there is a large number of people out there who have not sought treatment although they should.
Enforcement and preparation of the health, social and rescue services reform began in 2021 and will continue at a faster pace in 2022. Because of the separate solution devised for Uusimaa and because of our large population base, our situation is different from that of other regions in Finland. In the health and social services reform, HUS will remain the only hospital district, but our membership and ownership structure will change, and we will become the HUS Group.
Obviously HUS will remain intact in the reform, and our employees will be transferred to the new HUS Group as old employees. Our operating environment will change, however. HUS will have fewer owners going forward, and it is vital to cooperate with our future partners so that together we can achieve the integration of health, social and rescue services. The separate solution for Uusimaa requires close collaboration and discussion between HUS, the wellbeing services counties and the City of Helsinki. I want to be an optimist and believe that we will succeed in this, even if the separate solution for Uusimaa is perhaps the most difficult package to tackle in Finland’s health and social services reform.
In addition to addressing access to treatment and the aforementioned reform, we are busy with major construction projects, such as the Bridge Hospital and the Oak Hospital. Work on these projects progressed in the year under review, and the renovation of the Park Hospital was completed. We are the largest hospital district in Finland, delivering a huge volume of high-quality care, teaching and research. This pioneership also requires us to update our facilities and equipment to match current needs.
In my first few months as CEO, I have been proud to find how professional and expert HUS as a whole and its employees as individuals are. Every day, we engage in great and valuable work for the benefit of our patients. We must retain a clear vision and focus going forward. HUS has an effective strategy, but with the health and social services reform this strategy will probably have to be updated. Our values, mission and vision are unlikely to change, but it is always good to review and revise the focus areas in our strategy.
Chief Executive Officer