The basic Dutch health insurance package should continue to cover a maternity nurse for new mothers, but the number of hours could be reduced for some, the Dutch healthcare institute said on Monday.
At the moment new mothers receive a standard 49 hours of help spread over 10 days after giving birth, but this can be increased to 80 hours if needed.
However, the institute says this set up is old-fashioned and too rigid. If, for example, a family is easily able to cope with the new arrival, then a maternity nurse is an ‘unnecessary luxury’ and could work fewer hours, the institute says.
Health minister Edith Schippers in 2013 appealed for suggestions on how spending on healthcare could be reduced. A number of people suggested scrapping the maternity nurse service altogether.
The fact that men and childless people do not use a maternity nurse is no reason to scrap the service from the basic healthcare package, spokesman Michiel Geldof is quoted as saying by news agency ANP.
‘That could easily apply to the entire healthcare system,’ he said. ‘The idea behind insurance is that everyone shares the risks out of solidarity.’
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