Tuesday 22 June 2021

Aim is to catch up on routine care by year end, minister says

Photo: Depositphotos.com

Some 140,000 routine hospital operations and procedures were delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic, and patients may be asked to go to other parts of the country for treatment as part of the catching up process, hospital care minister Tamara van Ark has told MPs in a briefing.

Some treatment can be carried out more quickly if patients are prepared to go to a different hospital in a different region, although this would always be voluntary, Van Ark said.

The aim, she said, is to catch up completely this year, although this will depend on coronavirus developments. If there is an autumn surge, this will influence progress, she said.

The minister said she also wants to ensure that people who work in healthcare have enough time to recover from the intense pressure they have been working under. ‘The physical and mental recovery of healthcare professionals and scaling up routine operations must go hand in hand,’ Van Ark said.

Capacity in intensive care wards is now being scaled back to 1,350 beds, compared with 1,550 beds at the height of the pandemic.

Amsterdam’s UMC teaching hospital said on Thursday it is closing one of its three specialist coronavirus units because of the drop in admissions.

Currently, 1,618 people are being treated for coronavirus in hospital, of whom 559 are in intensive care.

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