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Fri, 20 Dec, 2013 04:34:00 AM
Minister of Justice sends proposal back for necessary changes
FTimes-STT Report, December 20
File picture of the minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The Minister of Justice, Anna-Maja Henriksson on Thursday said that the proposed reform policy for the social and healthcare sectors as part of the efforts to decentralise the healthcare system failed to fulfil the constitutional requirement.
Speaking during the parliamentary question-answer session, the minister observed that the working group involved in preparing the reform policy did not comply with the constitutional requirement as the model of operation proposed is likely to affect small municipalities.
The minister said that she sent the proposal back and asked the working group to bring it again after fulfilling the constitutional obligation in this regard.
“The drawbacks are not insurmountable. The working group will definitely be able to fix them and come again,” said Henriksson .
Earlier, before the question-answer session in the parliament, the minister said that the legal requirements should be addressed by the Ministerial Committee on Social and Health Policy before moving the proposal to the consultation round.
Her sentiments were also echoed by Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto, the Green Party Parliamentary Chairman who said that the model proposed by the working group should meet the basic constitutional requirement before the consultation round.
"The government cannot table such kind of motion that do not pass through Constitutional Law Committee," she said.
She also estimates that the government could run out of preparation time if they make changes on the proposal just after the consultation round.
Earlier, on November 19 the government has taken initiatives to bring changes in the framework and principle of the proposed reform policy for the social and healthcare sectors as part of its efforts to decentralise the healthcare system.
The cabinet committee on economic policy reviewed the reform proposal and observed that the Municipalities with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants should participate directly in the arrangement of their medical and social care.
According to the original reform plan, the small municipalities had to rely on the larger municipalities with over 20,000 inhabitants for the organisation of their medical and social care.
File Photo. Photo – Lehtikuva.
The committee also feared that some of the sections of the policy were not consistent with the constitution which necessitated the reforms.
As per the reform plan, the country will be divided into 30-40 regions in terms of healthcare facilities and each of those regions will serve at least 50,000 people. 
On June 27, the preparatory committee submitted its interim report to the minister, specifying the policies of the government coordination committee on social welfare and health care services in municipalities so that they could be utilised by municipalities when preparing the reports required by the act on local government structures. 
The objective of the reform is to guarantee equal social welfare and healthcare services to everyone. This requires changes in the municipal structure and greater regional cooperation. 
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