The ‘Mallu does the rounds’ project provided an easy-to-access medical service to people in rural areas of Finland using the Mallu bus.
Funding from RDPs can be used to introduce new ways of overcoming quality of life challenges in rural areas. In Finland this includes providing mobile healthcare services for remote areas and the ‘Mallu bus’ project demonstrates the broad range of benefits that this type of good practice can deliver. Project actions centred on converting a mobile caravan and fitting it out as the mobile healthcare centre. Nurses provide a carefully coordinated set of medical services from the mobile unit. On-board computer and broadband equipment connect the nurses to centralised patient information systems. Planning ensures a fixed route around a catchment area of eight municipalities.
The service covers an area with at least 100 000 potential patients.
The Mallu bus project has been especially good for supporting the independent living of elderly residents and has helped to prevent illness.
This mobile approach to rural healthcare aids cost-effectiveness for patients and health services because the nurses only recommend patients to a doctor if they really need an appointment. This enables the doctors to concentrate better on their own tasks and therefore improves the efficiency of regional health centres.
Data collected from Mallu’s daily activities are being used by health authorities to support the design of their existing service network, plus new operating models in South Karelia and nationwide.
Dental treatment, has been incorporated into an upgraded Mallu community care service. The mobile nurses are also expanding their functions to issue prescriptions for medicines and carry out preliminary care assessments.