Lasse Lehtonen, Director of Diagnostics at the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS), has criticized the Finnish government's efforts to prevent coronavirus pandemic.
Lehtonen wrote a blog to Uusi Suomi and said “Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Finnish government has emphasized Finland's good preparedness for crisis situations. On a practical level, however, the lack of protective equipment has became such a big problem after two weeks of pandemic that the doors of the state emergency warehouses had to be opened to supply equipment to hospitals.”
This expert wrote that the amounts of materials delivered to hospitals from this emergency storage warehouses "have proved to be quite small in relation to the need, and in fact there has not been much protective equipment outside of the university hospitals." "There have also been reports to the public about quality problems with protective equipment,", he added.
According to Lehtonen, the government has not provided equipment on the required amounts. He estimated that more than 300,000 people work in the social and health sector in Finland. During the projected 4 to 6 month epidemic, at least 120-180 million surgical masks would be needed for that personnel. Lehtonen added that “France, which is 12 times larger than Finland, ordered 2 billion surgical masks from China.”
Lehtonen said that the lack of protective equipment in an epidemic situation affects health care operations in many ways.
Sick or quarantined professionals
“Sick or quarantined healthcare professionals are out of normal operations, meaning that a large number of affected professionals will inevitably impair the functioning of healthcare,” wrote Lehtonen in his blog article.
Lehtonen mentioned the Hus instruction “No PPE (personal protective equipment) - No action”. He said the availability of sufficient high-level respirators and protective jackets is critical to the operation of intensive care units for Covid-19 patients.
“The number of intensive care units in Finland cannot actually be increased to the level of 1,000 places promised by the Minister of Family and Basic Services unless appropriate protective equipment is provided for the staff of intensive care units,” Lehtonen said.