Health minister says don’t blame me, after hospitals go bust

Health minister Bruno Bruins told MPs on Wednesday that it is crucial that emergency hospital care remains available in Lelystad, despite the bankruptcy of the local hospital group.

Bruins was speaking during a parliamentary debate on the closure of the IJsselmeer hospitals and the Slotervaart hospital in Amsterdam after they went bust last week. Both hospital groups were owned by a private healthcare company.

Bruins said he did not yet know how to ensure acute care remains in Lelystad  but said he will talk to health insurers and other interest groups in the next few weeks to come up with a solution.

Health insurers had refused to bail out the hospitals by paying for more treatment in advance, because they had their doubts about the institutions’ solvency.

MPs are highly critical of the way the two hospital groups collapsed. They applied for court protection from creditors last Tuesday and were declared bankrupt two days later.

MPs described the collapse and aftermath as ‘chaotic’ and ‘panic football’, and accused the minister of failing to do his job properly. Bruins said that while he is responsible for providing good healthcare to all, he should not be blamed for the bankruptcies.


Meanwhile, the Parool reported on Wednesday that at least one patient at the Slotervaart hospital had been in serious danger because of the hospital closure.

He was undergoing an intense series of chemotherapy but had to be moved to a new hospital on Friday morning. He was first taken to the wrong hospital in the ensuing chaos and it was ‘an extremely serious’ situation, doctors told the paper.

The case has been referred to health service inspectors.

Asked about the case during the debate, Bruins said ‘there was no question of a life-threatening situation’.

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