Contributed by P�ivi Laitinen, Secretary of the IFCC
The Finnish Society of Clinical Chemistry (FESCC) is one of the oldest societies in the field. It was founded in1947, but officially the Society became a registered society in 1950. FESCC will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year. FSCC is a voluntary non-profit scientific society, and according to its rules, FESCC acts as a link between physicians and chemists interested in clinical chemistry. It promotes the practical and theoretical developments in the field in Finland by organizing meetings and seminars and also through publications.
The Finnish Society currently has 449 members. The number of active members is decreasing and the number of retired clinical chemists is increasing rapidly, currently 25% of the total membership. A member of the Finnish Society must have university education, and thus the members are medical doctors and clinical biochemists. 75% of the members have a science background and 25% are medical doctors. The Finnish Society also has 20 supporting members.
The Finnish Society of Clinical Chemistry is a registered society. The Executive Board consists of the President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer and three members representing different areas and university hospital district areas of the country. The EB is elected by the Council that meets twice a year, in connection with the symposia organized by the Society. The Council approves the past year's report as well as the EB's action plan for the coming year. The Council also approves the auditor's report.
During its first decades of activity, the Finnish Society of Clinical Chemistry was mainly concerned with the development of clinical laboratories in hospitals and the special training of clinical biochemists and laboratory physicians. The specialist training of clinical chemists thus has long traditions in Finland and has been systematic and organized since the 1970's. Today the training programs within the EU countries have been harmonized according to the EC4 syllabus, to ensure the free movement of professionals. When a Finnish clinical chemist wants to work in another EU country, it is possible, because the training programs in EU countries are equal.
In the 1970's the Finnish Society has strongly effected the formation of quality control programs for clinical laboratories in Finland. In the 1960's the need for the external quality control schemes was recognized within the Society, Labquality was formed in 1971. Labquality is owned mainly by the Society, which is the biggest shareholder, and hospital districts. Labquality has grown from being solely a Finnish external quality assessment scheme provider to being an international organization in the field, acting mainly within the neighbouring areas. Currently approximately 1400 Finnish customers and 1000 laboratories, from over 30 different countries, participate in Labquality's quality assessment schemes.
Today the main annual activities of the Society are the organization of spring and autumn meetings and the publication of recommendations for hospital laboratories. The society also publishes its own journal, Kliinlab, with six issues a year. This journal serves as a link between the Society and its members as well as other laboratory professionals. The Society has its own website, where the members can find up-to-date information of the Society's activities (http://www.skky.fi/). The programs and lectures of the symposia are also found in the web for those who cannot attend the meetings.
International relations have been an important part of the Society's activities. The society has worked directly together with the societies of other countries, especially with those in Scandinavia, Estonia and Hungary. FSCC is a member of IFCC, FESCC, EC4, and the Scandinavian Society for Clinical Chemistry.
Co-operation of the Scandinavian Societies is a unique type of collaboration. When Scandinavian clinical chemists met in the 1970's during the congresses and meetings, it was like a family gathering. Everybody knew each other and was actively involved in the Scandinavian activities. Today the number of clinical chemists has increased and the co-operation has become more formal. One of the latest big Scandinavian projects was the adult reference interval project for 25 clinical chemistry analytes. The samples for this project were collected and analyzed in 5 Scandinavian countries and the data collected in one database. The reference intervals have been implemented in all Scandinavian countries. The Scandinavian Society has started a similar project for the children's reference intervals.
Members of the Finnish Society have been actively involved in international and European organizations. Several members of the FSCC have been and still are members of the IFCC Divisions, Committees and Working Groups, and at present of the IFCC EB. The Finnish Society has also been very active within FESCC and EC4 from the beginning of their existence, as members of the FESCC Executive Board, EC4 Executive Board, EC4 Registration Committee and several EC4 working groups.
The Finnish Society has been actively organizing international congresses. FSCC hosted the 11th European Congress of Clinical Chemistry in Tampere in 1995. Every fifth Scandinavian congress in clinical chemistry is held in Finland and the XXXI Nordic Congress of Clinical Chemistry will be the 7th Nordic congress held in Finland in 2008.