Senior medics have called on their colleagues to help low-paid healthcare workers who are struggling with debt by donating part of their salary to a hardship fund.
Maurice van den Bosch, chairman of the board of Amsterdam’s general hospital OLVG, said an estimated 5% and 10% of people working in healthcare were subjected to debt recovery orders, which allow creditors to deduct debts direct from their wages.
Among nursing home staff the proportion is as high as 15%, Den Bosch told NOS, explaining he had based his figures on consultations with other healthcare managers.
Den Bosch said he was prepared to give €5,000 from his wages to help set up a fund to pay off the debts of staff who were struggling to make ends meet ahead of a winter when rising energy bills are already causing extreme financial anxiety.
‘If 1,000 colleagues join in, we can start a fund with €5 million,’ he said in a LinkedIn post. ‘It may only solve a small part of the puzzle, but it’s a good start. Another solution is that we need to raise wages through our collective agreement with unions.’
Doctors on board
The Federation for Medical Specialists, a collective of 23,000 doctors and hospital staff, have already said they are prepared to support the fund, while the VvAA, which represents family and company doctors and other medics, has also backed the idea.
Van den Bosch said that without financial support, low-paid workers were more likely to go on sick leave in a sector where high levels of absence is a legacy of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘Healthcare workers were already under severe pressure because of coronavirus and now they are having to deal with this. That means we’ll see staff dropping out, because financial problems are bad for your health,’ he said.
Another danger Van den Bosch raised was that students are likely to put off or abandon their training, creating staffing problems for the future. ‘Students see during training that they can’t make ends meet and stop early. I know cases where this has happened.’
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl
The DutchNews.nl 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.
DutchNews.nl 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.