Tuesday 26 May 2020

Northern hospital shuts four operating theatres because of staff shortage

Photo: MIGroningen

Groningen’s main hospital, the UMCG, has shut four operating theatres until the end of the year because of a shortage of trained personnel.

Waiting lists are rising at the hospital and fewer beds are available in intensive care because it has been unable to find enough specialist staff to run all 29 theatres.

The hospital has tried to alleviate the problem by a recruitment drive and offering existing staff a €5,000 bonus if they pledge to stay at least three years, but it is still below capacity.

‘We didn’t foresee this drop in healthcare personnel,’ Peter Meyer, anaesthesiologist and medical head of the operating centre, told RTV Noord.

‘More people are retiring than we expected and we had a higher number of departures to other branches such as ambulance care.’

Meyer said part of the reason to close operating theatres was to relieve the pressure on current staff. ‘Our staff are working more and taking less holiday time. We value their input hugely, because thanks to them we have managed to maintain the current operational capacity.’

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