Chief Physician of the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS) Markku Mäkijärvi raised his eyebrows on Thursday when he compared the nurses’ strike in Ukraine to the war in Ukraine.
"I believe that the war in Ukraine can be compared to this situation," Mäkijärvi commented on the march that began on Friday morning in an interview with Svenska Yle in Swedish.
Following the interviewer’s observation, the boss of HUS replied that the statement was strongly worded. "Yes, but it’s true."
Mäkijärvi also called on citizens to lead a healthier lifestyle, he added "It’s possible that if something happens, we may not be able to help. It is impossible to treat all patients in such a situation."
The strike, organized by the municipal associations Tehy and SuPer, involves about 25,000 health care workers and affects six hospital districts.
Hospital districts are feeling the effects of the strike
HUS has said the industrial action has already affected first aid in the area, as some operations have had to be postponed. Tampere University Hospital has also had to postpone first aid due to the strike.
Although unions have negotiated with management to provide legally authorized personnel to cover emergency care, some hospital district authorities say the number of personnel is insufficient.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health announced on Thursday afternoon that it was preparing legislation to ensure adequate first aid.
The new laws would allow management to order striking nurses to do urgent work to ensure patient safety.
The ministry will decide on Friday whether the government will ask for a bill to be submitted to parliament. It will take at least a week for the law to enter into force.
According to Tehy, patient safety is at risk even under normal conditions, as low salaries in the industry have led to a shortage of nurses.
If the negotiating parties fail to reach an agreement by mid-April, the strike will expand to cover thirteen hospital districts.
Source: The Nordic Page