Esperi Care reveals a wider problem: Lack of effective regulation and political will

by , under Enrique Tessieri


What does scandal surrounding Esperi Care tell us about problems plaguing private elderly homes in Finland and how regulators don’t their jobs? This, I believe, is not a problem that just faces the nursing home sector, but the whole of Finnish society. 

Matters are in a pretty dire state at Esperi Care as well as at Attendo and Mehiläinen, which also run elderly homes.

Writes Yle News: “According to the Regional State Administrative Agencies for Southern and Western Finland, Esperi Care staff members without medical licenses have administered medicine; the company’s nursing homes have been dirty and in disrepair; and nurses have even abused their elderly customers by arbitrarily commanding them to bed or not letting them visit the outdoors.”

Read the full story here.

The Esperi Care case boils down to insufficient regulation. Regulators, who should regulate, don’t and lack political backing.

Possibly the problem lies in our wrong sense of exceptionalism and in those dumb studies that claim that we are the happiest nation in the world.

Since we are the happiest nation in the world, there is nothing to worry about in our society, right?


An op-ed piece in Suomen Kuvalehti asks a good question in light of the Esperi Care scandal: “Finland, which should be one of the best and happiest countries [in the world], appears to kill grandmothers and grandfathers in bed.”

Migrant unemployment

Just like the problems of Esperi Care, high migrant unemployment rates and racism are treated in the same way. There is little political will to tackle these types of social problems.

What is unfortunate, but not surprising, is how the police use crime statistics to reinforce society’s stereotypes and racism about asylum seekers. Such suspicion impacts the migrant community of Finland and makes their lives more difficult.

The behavior of the police, politicians and the media in light of the Oulu suspected sexual assault cases, shows that society is more interested in victimizing migrants than improving their standing in society.

Considering that migrant unemployment is 2-3 times higher than the national average, is it a surprise that Finland’s regulators do so little to challenge our racialized and segregated employment markets? If they cared, there are ample studies that prove the latter is a serious problem.

Only now, after repeated warnings of negligence at elderly homes are politicians waking up. Possibly the April 14 parliamentary elections has something to do with this sense of urgency.

We cannot and should not wait for politicians to react to a social problem ever four years when there is a parliamentary election.


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