The heat, coupled with a shortage of medical staff, leads to long queues at the departments of the Helsinki University Hospital District (HUS). Maaret Kastren, HUS Ambulance Chief, encourages people to call the HUS Hotline before seeking medical attention at district ambulance clinics.
According to her, currently there is a very shortage of personnel in the emergency departments in relation to the number of incoming patients. Castren said that there are significant queues at the emergency clinics, some people wait for a doctor's appointment for several days.
People with chronic illnesses, the elderly and young children are particularly affected by constant heat. She noted that since spring, HUS has faced a shortage of nurses, and bottlenecks have formed in the transfer of patients from emergency departments to city hospitals.
To help ease the situation, HUS emergency departments are offering patients medical vouchers that they can use to get help from private doctors.
“All patients now admitted to the emergency department, no matter how minor the problem, put a strain on an already overwhelmed system,” Castren said.
To cope with hot weather, HUS encourages people to do their best to protect themselves from the sun, stay cool and drink plenty of fluids.