Finland also helps Ukrainians by participating in patient evacuations
Finnish Government - Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Ministry of the Interior
Finland is also committed to helping Ukraine by taking part in the medical evacuation and treatment of patients from Ukraine together with other EU countries. Transfers have already been started.
Patient transfers are carried out through the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. So far over 700 Ukrainian patients have received treatment in one of the countries participating in the Civil Protection Mechanism.
Ukraine and EU countries decide together on patient transfers. In Finland, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the hospital districts assess together whether patients can be transferred to Finland. This assessment is made based on the available healthcare resources, for example. The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, together with other hospital districts, coordinates practical arrangements relating to the reception of patients. The Ministry of the Interior supports the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in organising evacuation transports for patients.
Authorities deal with patient evacuations
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, many people in Finland have wanted to participate in the efforts to help Ukrainian people. Some of them have transported people from the conflict area on their own initiative. The authorities understand people's willingness to help but remind that people from the conflict area often need special support.
"It is wonderful that so many people want to help Ukrainians. However, it is important that the authorities carry out the transfers of wounded and sick people, people with disabilities and other special groups, because such transfers involve major risks when it comes to people's health and safety," says Krista Lyyra, Senior Specialist at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.
Ukrainian authorities have their own requirements for guaranteeing the health of patients to be transferred and for ensuring free care and treatment for them. Thus, it is necessary that Ukrainian and Finnish authorities collaborate in meeting these requirements well before measures are taken to organise transfers. Through the Civil Protection Mechanism, it is also possible to organise safe transports, for example, by air.
The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, together with other hospital districts, coordinates practical arrangements relating to the reception of patients. The Ministry of the Interior supports the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in organising evacuation transports for patients. The Finnish Immigration Service is responsible for reception services for persons applying for or receiving temporary protection and for granting temporary protection to those fleeing Russia's invasion.
In patient transfers, consideration is always given to sufficient hospital capacity
Before any evacuations are carried out, it is necessary to assess what the current capacity of Finland's service system is and to ensure that treatment capacity is not compromised.
"Before patients' arrival in Finland, it is important to ensure that they can actually receive the treatment they need. Ukrainian authorities require this from the receiving countries," says Senior Specialist Krista Lyyra.
Ukrainian authorities require this from the receiving countries. For this reason, it is necessary to agree on transfers well beforehand with Finnish hospitals.
According to Esko Kemppainen, Medical Director at the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa, hospital personnel are highly motivated to help Ukrainians.
"When those wounded in the war are transferred to receive further treatment, it is, however, important that everything is planned in advance, any risks related to the transfer are taken into account and the timing of the transfer is given careful thought," says Kemppainen.
Patients must have a place where to go to when they are discharged from the hospital and where their rehabilitation is ensured. Patients may be accompanied by family members or relatives. It must be ensured that their reception and services are carried out as planned so that they can be near to their family member or relative undergoing treatment.
No accurate information on patient transfers is revealed to ensure the safety and data protection of operations and persons to be transferred.
Finland helps Ukraine in many ways
So far over 33,000 Ukrainians have applied for temporary protection in Finland and are now within the reception system for asylum seekers.
Finland has also delivered a lot of material aid to Ukraine. Finland has sent 22 truckloads of emergency relief to civilians as requested by Ukraine.
"The aid has included medicines, hospital supplies, emergency shelters, rescue services supplies and back-up generators. We have also sent 13 ambulances and four fire engines," says Pasi RyynÃ¤nen, Head of Unit at the Ministry of the Interior.
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