The current Executive Board must invest particularly in HR and in the health and social services reform.

My first months as chairman of the Executive Board have brought a pleasant surprise in discovering how effectively HUS is engaging in specialist medical care, education and research despite the coronavirus pandemic. My view on HUS operations is now very different from when I was a municipal decision-maker.

Having become chairman of the HUS Executive Board, I realized that in political decision-making HUS is only mentioned in the context of budgets, which surprised me. Other matters were rarely discussed, even though HUS is a major player in health care in Uusimaa and nationwide. HUS is sort of like the elephant in the room that local government decision-makers are astonishingly willing to ignore. 

Three things on the agenda of the Executive Board trump everything else: personnel, the health and social services reform, and finances. HR matters will continue to be important going forward. We must ensure that our employees have the best possible conditions for doing their jobs to benefit our patients.

The health and social services reform will be happening during the term of the current Executive Board, and this is a period of change where I see multiple opportunities for improving structures and procedures and for increasing cooperation. However, we must not lose sight of the economies of scale facilitated by the sheer volume of HUS operations. The roles of the various actors must be clear. Everyone must know what Joint Authority HUS does, what the wellbeing services counties do and what the City of Helsinki does. There must be no polarization between specialist medical care and primary health care.

Procurement plays a significant role in finances, but funding for research and teaching must also be secured. Our research and teaching make a huge contribution to Finland’s overall competitiveness and vitality, and we must be able to safeguard their funding.

I have held a wide range of political positions, but the chairmanship of this Executive Board is by far the most impactful and involves the greatest responsibility. The decisions we made have a substantial effect on the lives of ordinary citizens. Working with the Executive Board has been constructed, and we have been able to deal with difficult topics in a positive atmosphere.

The current HUS strategy appears good, but what is important is translating strategies into tangible actions. It is excellent that patients and their care are prominently featured in the strategy. The strategy will require updating with the advent of the health and social services reform, but our focus on patients will not change. Strategies must adapt to the times and respond to current challenges.

Risto Rautava
Chairman of the HUS Executive Board as of October 2021