Introduction This study is part of the Occupational Health Counselling project carried out in Kuopio in 2008–2010, the participants of which were 16–24 year-old young people who were not covered by OHS, and 25–54 year-old people participating in labour force training. The aim of the study was to evaluate the implementation of the customer process in health care for the unemployed and authorities’ collaboration networks.
Methods The study comprised four sub-studies. The first and second sub-study consisted of interviewing authorities’ personnel in Kuopio and in the control municipalities. A network questionnaire was sent out at the same time. The third sub-study examined the lifestyle and health issues of the unemployed young people according to length of unemployment. In the fourth sub-study, we interviewed the young participants of the project and performed a customer feedback survey.
Result Tensions and differing opinions exist within health care services regarding the special needs of this group. The co-operation between health services and labour administration is not sufficiently solid to support the work ability of the unemployed. The research indicated that young men were at a higher risk of prolonged unemployment than women. The study also showed possible associations between prolonged unemployment and both drug use and a low or moderate score on the Work ability index.
Discussion Co-operation within health care services needs to be improved, and roles made clearer. Some of the operating concepts of OHS offer a good model as regards the needs of this customer group. OHS resources should especially focus on unemployed people who report feeling that their health or work ability has diminished. Young people in particular feel that they benefit from health promotion and health appointments with a professional.
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