An average of one in 10 beds are closed in some wards at the seven Dutch academic hospitals because of the shortage of qualified nursing staff, the NRC said on Friday.
Intensive care, accident and emergency units and operating theatres are also hard hit by the shortages, the paper said.
Diederik Gommers, head of the Erasmus MC’s intensive care unit told the NRC that 12 of the 44 beds are currently out of action, five because staff are sick and seven because of structural staff shortages.
‘Sometimes we are being forced to cancel acute heart operations because there are no beds. We can do that for a day, but no longer,’ he said. ‘And if someone dies because there are no beds, and I do not rule this out, then we will report it to the inspectorate.’
At Groningen’s UMCG, 90 out of 891 beds are closed, while in Maastricht, some 5% of beds are out of action. At Amsterdam’s UMmc, three operating theatres are closed and at the city’s OLVG hospital, up to seven of the 25 operating theatres are closed at any given time.
‘We have the patients but not the personnel,’ a spokesman told the NRC.
Nursing staff at teaching hospitals tend to earn less than at ordinary hospitals, which is one reason that nurses are moving out of the academic sector. In addition, the shortage of affordable homes in Amsterdam and Utrecht is driving nursing staff away, the paper said.
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