A1 Journal article (refereed)
Alueellinen yhdenvertaisuus maakunnallistuvissa sosiaali- ja terveydenhuollon rakenteissa (2021)
Spatial equality in the context of provincial social and health care structures

Rantamäki, N., Kattilakoski, M., & Halonen, M. (2021). Alueellinen yhdenvertaisuus maakunnallistuvissa sosiaali- ja terveydenhuollon rakenteissa. Yhteiskuntapolitiikka, 86(4), 383-394. http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe2021091546266

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsRantamäki, Niina; Kattilakoski, Mari; Halonen, Maija

Journal or seriesYhteiskuntapolitiikka



Publication year2021


Issue number4

Pages range383-394

PublisherTerveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos

Publication countryFinland

Publication languageFinnish

Persistent website addresshttp://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi-fe2021091546266

Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77957


The welfare state can be considered one of the most significant equality projects of Finnish society. However, its original aim of ensuring equal and universal access to public welfare services, irrespective of social status or domicile, is now being threatened by a shortage of resources. Rural residents in particular are increasingly concerned about their security of access to adequate social care. Recent reforms have sought to address the resource problem by moving towards a provincial organization of services. In this article, we examine how spatial equality is manifested in regional social and health care organizations in two provinces. Based on 12 expert interviews carried out in two different organizations, spatial equality is defined as securing access to the same treatment regardless of where people are domiciled. This includes operational structures that take into account the regional dimension, the provision of services based on a uniform set of criteria, and different ways of providing services that overcome the challenges posed by regional diversity.Based on the results, spatial equality is pursued under various cross-pressures – including the pressure to harmonize services and still provide them in a manner appropriate to each area. To support spatial equality, organizations should be able to create and act according to a system that is grounded in place-sensitive information. In line with the calls made in our interview material, we call for explicit public debate on how far the objectives of spatial equality should be pursued.

Keywordshealth and social services reformhealth servicessocial servicesservice systemscountiesmunicipalitiesregional policyequality (fundamental rights)

Free keywordsspatial equality; social and health care reform; rural areas

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2021

JUFO rating2

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 17:36