Organisations call out government over care of the elderly

Photo: depositphotos

Twenty-seven organisations that care for the elderly headed to The Hague on Tuesday to hand over a petition warning of a “disaster“ if government cutbacks continue.

Their action came as consultancy EY warned that 220 of 789 care organisations could face bankruptcy in the near future, or “code red”,  based on an analysis of annual reports.

That is 40% more than a year ago and may result in redundancy for care workers at a time when they are needed most and residential care homes have a waiting list of 20,000 people. If this scenario is allowed to happen, the quality of the care for the elderly will become even worse than it is today, with less time to adequately look after clients, not enough personal attention or organised activities, EY said.

Elderly people in residential care homes are already suffering the consequences of the pared-down care, with people waiting for weeks to have a wash, or having to sit in their own excrement because there is no time to take them to the toilet outside the designated times, an investigation by broadcaster NOS found.

Apart from inflation, higher energy costs and more expensive freelance staff government cutbacks on elderly care are making things even worse, EY said.

The national budget for the sector will be cut by three percent until 2026 while the Dutch healthcare authority NZa is also cutting down on care organisations’ budget for accommodation for the elderly by eight percent.

Health insurers are also planning to cut down on care home allowances in the next two years, which has prompted 250 organisations to take them to court.

Director of the Noord Nederlandse Coöperatie van Zorgorgnisaties (NNCZ) Roeli Mossel who will be handing a petition to caretaker long-time care minister Conny Helder on Tuesday, said staff shortages and an ageing population spell “disaster”.

“We are not even asking for more money, we simply want the cutbacks to stop,” she told broadcaster NOS. “You cannot expect us not to buckle under the cutbacks and rising costs,” Mossel said.

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