The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) investigated the participation of the Finnish Border Guard in a health care service’s helicopter-assisted emergency care in Lapland, based on a request for action by Heliflite Oy. Based on the investigation performed by the FCCA, the competitive neutrality regulations were not applicable to assessing the operations of the Finnish Border Guard, because the flight operations of the Finnish Border Guard were based on an administrative assistance agreement prepared based on legislation. The FCCA terminated its processing of the case on 1 November 2017.
The request for action submitted to the FCCA by the helicopter service operator Heliflite Oy expressed a suspicion, that the participation of the Finnish Border Guard in helicopter-assisted emergency care was in violation of the competitive neutrality regulations included in the Competition Act and unjustifiably edged out helicopter companies that offered emergency care helicopter services on a commercial basis.
Competitive neutrality regulations apply to economic activity practised by public entities referred to in Section 30 a of the Competition Act. Activities of administrative bodies are excluded from the scope of the competitive neutrality regulations.
Based on reports it received, the FCCA concluded that helicopter-assisted emergency care is part of the emergency care entity under the organisational responsibility of the hospital district and an integral part of the non-commercial public health care system based on the principle of solidarity. Thus, only the helicopter-assisted emergency care operations, that were subject to competitive bidding and for which FinnHEMS 51 was responsible in the area of the Lapland Hospital District based on competitive bidding, are considered economic activity, as per the Competition Act.
For administrative assistance, this was a case of legislation-based cooperation between authorities to ensure the provision of emergency health care services. These operations were not organised based on market terms and, therefore, flight operations of the Finnish Border guard were not considered economic activity as referred to in Section 4 a of the Competition Act.
The FCCA terminated its processing of the case.
Public version of the decision (in Finnish)
Additional information: Senior Research Officer Juha Lipponen, tel. +358 (0)29 505 3362, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The purpose of Chapter 4 a of the Competition Act is to safeguard a level playing field (competition neutrality) between public and private businesses. The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) has the authority to intervene in public sector business activities if it prevents or distorts competition in the market. The FCCA investigates neutrality-related matters on its own initiative or on the basis of requests for action.
Read more about Competition neutrality