Emergency Covid-19 hospitals were unused, but who will pay for them?

Intensive care numbers are also falling. Photo: Depositphotos.com
Photo: Depositphotos.com

It is unclear who will pick up the bill for two emergency hospitals which were built to take coronavirus patients but which were never used, according to investigative journalism platform Investico.

In Rotterdam, the Ahoy exhibition centre was turned into a temporary hospital, as was the MECC centre in Maastricht. But neither saw any patients and both are now being dismantled.

The total cost of the two emergency hospitals is put at €14m and both were set up without the go-ahead of regional health officials, Investico said.

Health insurance firms had called for the official green light in order to make funding available and say they are not willing now to pick up the bill, the platform said.

Meanwhile, Ernst Kuijpers, who chairs the Erasmus teaching hospital and the national patient coordination centre, has called for a different approach if the Netherlands is hit by a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Rather than disrupt ordinary care provision, each local health board should designate a hospital to focus on coronavirus only, Kuijpers told broadcaster NOS.

‘We managed to absorb the peak in coronavirus patients but we had to cancel planned operations and nationwide cancer controls,’ he said. ‘We had no choice at the time…but soon we should be able to say patients with Covid-19 should go to a specific hospital, which can increase its intensive care capacity if needed.’

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