Wednesday 04 August 2021

Healthcare staff pressured to work on with mild coronavirus: union


There are instances in the Netherlands of healthcare workers who test positive for coronavirus but only have mild symptoms being encouraged to work on, a union spokeswoman has told NOS radio.

Elise Merlijn, who heads the FNV’s Zorg & Welzijn union, said nurses, doctors and other care workers have been encouraged to work despite having coronavirus.

‘I am not only hearing this in hospitals, but across the care system, in home nursing and in nursing homes,’ she said. ‘People who have mild complaints and test positive are being asked to come to work. If you realise that their jobs involve the most vulnerable patients, it is too bizarre for words.’

Merlijn said she did not have any figures, but that the union receives a lot of questions from healthcare workers who feel vulnerable and unsure what to do.

‘There is an enormous shortage of people and high absenteeism but demand is increasing. The pressure to keep the rosters full is immense,’ she said.

The union is planning to raises the issue with hospitals minister Tamara van Ark, NOS said.

Thank you for donating to

The team would like to thank all the generous readers who have made a donation in recent weeks. Your financial support has helped us to expand our coverage of the coronavirus crisis into the evenings and weekends and make sure you are kept up to date with the latest developments. has been free for 14 years, but without the financial backing of our readers, we would not be able to provide you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch. Your contributions make this possible.

If you have not yet made a donation, but would like to, you can do so via Ideal, credit card or Paypal.