The health centres of the Western Uusimaa wellbeing services county take care of the population in the area

29.5.2023 8.46

The focus of health centre activities is on preventing illnesses and promoting health. Nurses' and physicians' appointments are an essential, central part of the everyday life of health centres, but a large amount of care is done in other ways, for example on the phone.

Health centres examine and treat illnesses, and support health promotion and disease prevention. Health centres also play an important role in the care of emergency patients on weekdays. If necessary, the patient will be referred to HUS for further examinations and treatment, for example, specialist medical care.

How can I contact the health centre?  

You can contact the health centre mainly by phone. Some things, such as appointments for influenza vaccinations, can also be handled online in many municipalities. Other digital contact channels such as chat are also available in some municipalities in the wellbeing services county. E-service channels at the wellbeing services county level are currently under preparation.

At the moment, telephone services and call queues function slightly differently depending on the health centre. To ensure consistent, high-quality services in our region, telephone services will be harmonised. We can best promote treatment when there is a dedicated service channel for urgent calls. When the customer calls, they choose whether their case is an acute emergency matter or a non-urgent problem that does not require immediate treatment. The call is stored in the call-back queue and the professional calls the customer back as soon as possible.

Health centres are obliged to handle urgent calls and urgent care on a daily basis. In urgent matters, the customer is called back on the same day. In non-urgent cases, the call-back delay varies between centres. If there is a clear non-urgent issue on the emergency line, the call is transferred to the correct queue.

Who are the people working on the phone?

A nurse at the patient’s own health centre makes the call. The nurse assesses the need for treatment on the phone and finds out what kind of treatment the customer needs. The nurse may also consult a doctor if the caller's situation so requires.

Many problems can be solved on the phone. For example, nurses can give care instructions without a face-to-face meeting as well. In some cases, such as influenza or stomach flu, it makes sense that the person does not come to the health centre to infect others. If necessary, an appointment with either a nurse or a physician is booked for the customer.

After the call, the nurse records the matters discussed on the phone and the instructions given to the customer. The patient can see the entries in MyKanta.

The number of calls has increased significantly in recent years

The number of calls to health centres has almost doubled in a few years. However, the number of personnel has not increased. For example, in the last week of April alone, more than 15,000 calls were made to customers from health stations in the wellbeing services county. Calls are not evenly distributed over all days, but there are many more calls at the beginning of the week than at the end of the week. At the beginning of the week, there are more nurses doing telephone work than at the end of the week. 

Due to the so called ‘hoitovelka’ (treatment debt) caused by the pandemic, many issues patients experience have also become worse, which increases the duration of the calls. This means that fewer calls can be made per day.

Challenges in the availability of appointment times

The doctors' appointment books are open approximately four weeks into the future and new appointments are made available regularly. In non-urgent cases, doctors' appointments are only very limited in relation to demand, and times are not always available. This situation may frustrate the customer. However, our professionals are always on the customer's side and do everything they can to get the issue treated in the best possible way and as quickly as possible.

Part of the reason for the lack of time is that many positions of both doctors and nurses in our wellbeing services county remain open. Recruiting health care professionals is difficult at the national level as well, so our situation is unfortunately no different. The flu seasons also cause absences in close work communities, which means that appointments may be cancelled. The ‘hoitovelka’ (“treatment debt”) caused by the coronavirus pandemic is also continuously dissolved.

Prescriptions can be renewed conveniently online

Although many things still require contacting the health centre, in many cases, prescriptions can be renewed online in the MyKanta service. You can log in to MyKanta with your online banking ID or mobile certificate. You will find prescriptions in the menu on the left-hand side of the page.

Our professionals are constantly working to ensure that the health centre services of the Western Uusimaa wellbeing services county will function better in the future.