KEPA Uusimaa newsletter 1/2022 January: Expertise in intellectual disability services to be centralised in Uusimaa

Published: 8.2.2022 11.16

Plans are currently being made to transfer the organisation of the intellectual disability clinic, assessment and rehabilitation services from the municipalities, joint municipal authorities and Eteva to the HUS Joint Authority. The HUS Joint Authority is a joint venture of the Uusimaa wellbeing services counties and the City of Helsinki that will also be responsible for Helsinki University Hospital in the future.

The goal is to also centralise the administration of therapy and psychological services that support the daily lives of people with intellectual disabilities that are currently provided by Eteva as well as social work and special guidance to the HUS Joint Authority.

This centralisation of expertise and reorganisation of services is considered necessary. It will ensure the continuity of services provided to clients when the existing districts for special care cease their operations as part of the ongoing social welfare and health care reform.

“From clients’ perspective, the availability of services and staff expertise is key. By centralising the most demanding care into sufficiently large entities, we can create the best possible conditions for high-quality and timely care,” says Markus Paananen, Director of Health Services at the City of Espoo and Chair of the steering group for the ‘Services for people with intellectual disabilities in Uusimaa’ project.

Providing timely care in the local services of the wellbeing services counties also requires expertise on intellectual disabilities.

“Centralising expertise improves our possibilities of supporting and developing the care that clients receive also in the health and social services centres of the wellbeing services counties, for example, through training and low-threshold consultation,” says Risto Vataja, Chief Physician and Head of Geriatrics, Neurology and Addiction Psychiatry at the HUS Joint Authority.

More specific administrative solutions, such as the organisational structure, exact content of services and practical operating methods need further specification and are currently underway. The starting point of the planning work is that the existing facilities will remain unchanged at the beginning of the process. Once operations become more established, new facilities may be created or old ones discontinued. At this point, however, no detailed information on the long-term location of services exists. What is essential is that the services will continue without interruption regardless of any administrative changes.

“The centralisation of the demanding services that Eteva is currently providing ensures that clients will continue to have access to the solid expertise and competence of our staff,” says Kirsi Leväpelto, Director of Services at Eteva.

At its meeting on 17 December 2021, the cooperation group of the five regions in Uusimaa discussed the proposal made by the steering group of the ‘Services for people with intellectual disabilities in Uusimaa’ project regarding the centralisation of special services for people with intellectual disabilities to the HUS Joint Authority. The group took a favourable view of the proposal. Decision preparations will continue in the wellbeing services counties of Uusimaa, Kanta- and Päijät-Häme, the City of Helsinki and the HUS Joint Authority. Final decisions will be made by the county councils and the corresponding bodies of the other operators. The planning of the provision of corresponding Swedish-speaking intellectual disability services has recently started. The aim is to provide equal services.

“The centralisation proposal was the most visible and significant result of the work we did last autumn. I am grateful to all the experts who participated in our work and I am glad that the decision-making process is progressing,” says Kati Sihvonen, Project Manager at the ‘Services for people with intellectual disabilities in Uusimaa’ project.