Philippine Ambassador: Finland Open To Filipino Nurses

With a shortage of healthcare professionals amid an aging population, Finland is open to having Filipinos fill the gap, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said Friday May, 2 2008.
Philippine Ambassador to Sweden and Finland Maria Zeneida Collinson said Finnish officials accepted her proposal to send a Philippine labor mission to Finland before the yearend to discuss the possible need for a bilateral labor agreement.
In a meeting with Finnish government officials two weeks ago, she discussed the Philippines’ readiness to help alleviate Finland’s critical shortage of nurses and other healthcare professionals.
Collinson, in her report to the home office, said Finland’s Minister of Employment and Economy Tarja Cronberg, as well as officials of the country’s Ministry of Interior, Immigration Department, and the Ministry of Social Welfare and Health, welcomed her proposal.
She said the possible entry of Filipino healthcare professionals to Finland was first discussed a year ago and it resulted in the arrival on April 22 of a pilot of a group of eight Filipino nurses in the northern European country. These eight Filipino nurses received initial training and Finnish language lessons in the Philippines. There, they will be given further training so that they can qualify as a practical nurse.
Collinson said some private sector groups plan to visit Manila in the next few months to help lay the groundwork for the official Philippine mission later in the year.
According to the DFA, Finland is widely expected to be one of the first European countries to experience a demographic shock as an estimated 900,000 of its “baby boom” generation reach retirement age within the next 12 years.
“With insufficient birth rates to offset the country’s rapidly aging population, the ensuing decline in the working-age population is predicted to lead to rising pensions and deteriorating healthcare services,” it said.

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