Saturday 28 May 2022

The district nurse makes a comeback – to decide on frontline care

The government is re-introducing the district-based nurse from next year as part of its plans to decentralise many long-term care services.

District nurses will be charged with deciding what services they will provide for people in their area in order to help them remain living in their own homes, junior health minister Martin van Rijn told parliament on Wednesday.

The cost of district nursing will be covered in the basic healthcare package.  This means health insurance companies will decide who should get the contracts, Trouw points out.

Costs

Draft legislation making the switch towards community nursing possible was sent to parliament on Wednesday. 

MPs are largely agreed that community-based care is preferable to institutions but are divided on the role of health insurers in this, Trouw says.

In particular, opposition MPs are worried that insurers will go for the cheapest option and that district nurses will not be paid for other essential tasks such as coordinating with other care professionals.

Van Rijn has assured MPs more cash will be made available to pay for district nurses to have a coordinating role.

Premiums

Meanwhile, health minister Edith Schippers says the expected increase in healthcare premiums because of the switch to community-based nursing will be limited to €20 a year thanks to an extra injection of government funds.

There had been fears the premiums would rise by €200 to pay for the changeover. Long-term care is currently paid from out of a separate pot of money known as the AWBZ.

However, the extra government contribution will be phased out by 2019, Schippers said in a briefing to parliament. In addition, health insurers will be free to increase premiums for a basic policy by more than €20 because of other factors which have increased costs.

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