Public Dental Service personnel facing a major health care reform in Finland
Materials and methods - An electronic questionnaire was sent to the Chief Dentists of a random sample of 12 PDS units in southern and northern Finland for distribution to their personnel; 71.0% responded.
Results - Most respondents (64.3%) believed that their PDS unit would not change. However, 45.4% foresaw a merger with another unit. More dentists (51.2%) were aware of market- and competition-oriented organisational forms to be introduced in the public sector than dental hygienists (35.0%) and dental assistants (27.3%; p < 0.01). Only 12.4% thought of moving to the private sector. To increase cost-efficiency in the new system, a majority suggested improvement in preventive care (79.8%) and increased use of dental hygienists (75.7%). A smaller proportion suggested longer opening hours (23.1%), higher patient fees (17.9%) or more paying patients (12.4%).
Discussion -Public sector employees had little knowledge and understanding of the coming reform and were badly prepared for competition with the private sector.