Reservoirs for postponed operations, a large group of ex-corona patients with long-term complaints and thousands of doctors and nurses who are reaching their limits. These are major problems that need to be resolved after the epidemic.
Are there already preparations for restoring care? The Ministry of Health will soon come up with a plan, a spokesman said News hour. Healthcare umbrella organizations are in talks with the ministry, but there are no concrete ideas yet, according to a tour of News hour.
And that while such ideas are desperately needed, says Armand Girbes, head of intensive care at the Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc. He argues for a Delta Plan for the post-vaccination period. “You can’t start early enough on that. But I haven’t heard anything about it yet, it makes me worried. Who is in charge?”
‘Patient central, not insurers’
What must be done? “We have to analyze carefully what the damage is of the delayed care,” says Girbes. “Agreements with health insurers about reimbursement must be different so that all available capacity for treatments and operations can be optimally used. The patient must be central, not the interests of health insurers.”
The hospitals have already submitted plans to insurers yesterday for the financing of the care catch-up. “In the second half of May we will look at how we can realize this in practice”, says Rob Dillmann, board member of the Dutch Association of Hospitals. A spokesperson for Zorgverzekeraars Nederland guarantees patients that “regardless of their policy, they can count on timely and appropriate treatment”.
In addition to sound agreements about financing, Girbes advocates a plan for patients who have long-term complaints from their corona infection. “Are we going to set up knowledge centers? Are we going to bundle that knowledge in a specific hospital? You should not let this run its course.”
Another point of attention is healthcare workers who are reaching their limits due to the epidemic. They must be helped properly, also to combat staff shortages, Girbes emphasizes. “I have received very disturbing reports about the size of the group of doctors and nurses who are going to have a burnout.”
Dillmann shares his concerns. “One of the concerns we have is that our employees will have to go through a period of recovery.”
Minister comes up with a plan, Girbes is skeptical
Later this month, Minister for Medical Care Tamara van Ark will come up with a plan for “catch-up care”. This is drawn up together with healthcare parties, says a spokesperson. “Catching up with deferred care and the recovery of individuals are important topics.”
But Girbes has little confidence that these organizations and the ministry will be able to tackle the “crisis” in healthcare. He sees the corona policy as proof of this. “The approach to the corona crisis in Europe has ended in a bureaucratic failure. The dire lack of substantive knowledge and practical wisdom on the part of administrative bodies and governments has played tricks on us.”
“The known consultation circuits can function reasonably well in a non-crisis situation. But we are not in that right now; we need to act quickly.”
He argues for the appointment of one or two people who will lead the ‘restoration’ of care with a task force. “The ministry should give a mandate, but not to someone from a gray meeting circle. We really have people in the Netherlands who are very practical who can help with this.”