Glossary of Health and Social Services
+ Health and social services centre
A health and social services centre – i.e. an HSS centre – is a place where you will receive the most common health services and advice on social services. You will go to a health and social services centre for reasons such as a prolonged cold or a sprained ankle.
In other words, HSS centres are similar to the current health centres in many respects. The services provided by HSS centres include medical check-ups, general practitioners’ surgeries, social services counselling, etc.
You can choose for yourself which health and social services centre to visit. An HSS centre may be operated by a private or a public body
+ Health and social services voucher
You may receive a voucher for certain health and social services once a physician, a social worker or some other professional has assessed the types of services that you will require. If you require cataract surgery or some other type of non-urgent surgery, for example, you may receive a services voucher for such surgery, allowing you to choose where the procedure will be performed. The purpose of a health and social services voucher is to ensure that you will receive treatment as soon as possible.
You may also use a services voucher for physiotherapy, home care or rehabilitation, to name but a few examples. When you are referred to physiotherapy, you will receive treatment matching the value of your services voucher from your chosen physiotherapist.
Health and social services vouchers will be granted by counties, and they will work in the same way as the service vouchers currently granted by local authorities. Moving forward, health and social services vouchers will replace municipal service vouchers, which will no longer be available.
+ Personal budget
If you require multiple services for an extended period of time, you may receive a personal budget for obtaining services. Typically, such budgets are available for services intended for elderly or disabled people.
You may be granted a personal budget once your service needs have been assessed by a physician, a social worker or some other professional. The types of services that you require will be included in your client care plan. After this, a certain amount of euros will be credited to your personal budget, which you can use to purchase services. However, you will not receive any money in your bank account; instead, your county will pay the service provider – which may be a business or a non-governmental organisation (NGO), etc. – directly for the services that you use.
You can decide for yourself where to purchase the services included in your client care plan. You will also have a say about the content of these services. This will ensure that you will receive services that meet your specific needs. By way of example, you can use your personal budget to cover housing services or a personal assistant.
Counties constitute a new intermediate level of self-government to be established between local and central government levels, with decision-makers to be elected in county elections. Moving forward, a total of 18 counties will assume responsibility for aspects such as health and social services for their respective residents. They are scheduled to start operations on 1 January 2020. The forthcoming counties will have more or less the same borders as the current regions.