We, the undersigned student unions, plead for maintaining student healthcare as a single, high-quality entity. The easiest way to ensure this is to secure the operating conditions of the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS) in the social and healthcare reform and to expand the service to cover students in universities of applied sciences.
In order to maintain the quality of FSHS’ services, its status must be clearly stated in legislation and student healthcare must be left out of the freedom of choice model. The report on student healthcare made by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health (STM) also proposed organising student healthcare as a single entity that includes healthcare and nursing services (STM 2012, 39). This is the only way to ensure the continuation of FSHS’ operations. FSHS is a well-functioning example of organising student healthcare as a whole in the best possible manner as well as cost-effectively. FSHS’ work includes both general healthcare services and supporting study ability in cooperation with higher education institutions.
For many higher education students, the stage of life that coincides with studying includes significant challenges such as becoming independent, the pressures of getting through studies, difficult financial situations and changes in one’s circle of friends. Understandably, the aforementioned factors as well as other challenges in students’ stages of life are reflected in their health, mental health in particular. This means that the prevention of more serious problems requires expertise focused on students as well as opportunities and resources to cooperate with the entire higher education unit. This is exactly what FSHS does in an exemplary, committed and high-quality fashion.
‘The collaboration between FSHS and universities is of crucial importance for student healthcare’, Community Health Chief Physician Kristina Kunttu from FSHS states. ‘Student healthcare is like occupational healthcare: we need to be working where students are. We can only take action against problems that arise during appointments if we know what is causing the problems in the studying environment’, Kunttu continues. ‘In recent years, the results of cooperation have been visible in, for instance, the decrease of stress experienced by first-year students after we have known to start giving more attention to group formation and student counselling.’
Student healthcare as a whole inseparably includes both general healthcare and close cooperation with higher education institutions. FSHS takes care of this whole with years of expertise, in cooperation with the end users and by constantly developing its operations. The operational conditions of the comprehensive student healthcare produced by FSHS should not be scrapped in the social and healthcare reform, and these services must be offered to all higher education students.
Aalto University Student Union
Chair of the Board Milja Asikainen
Student Union of the University of Helsinki
Chair of the Board Susanna Jokimies
Student Union of the University of Jyväskylä
Chair of the Board Lasse Heikkilä
Student Union of the University of Oulu
Chair of the Board Kati Hannila
Student Union of the University of Tampere
Chair of the Board Mikael Malkamäki
Student Union of Tampere University of Technology
Chair of the Board Maria Kultanen
Student Union of the University of Turku
Chair of the Board Riina Lumme
Student Union of the University of Vaasa
Chair of the Board Matilda Vähäkangas
Student Union of Åbo Akademi University
Chair of the Board Anton Norrback