Rotterdam metro station stays closed for asbestos clean-up

Rotterdam's city hall metro stop Stadhuis will remain closed for a further 2.5 weeks while asbestos found during building work is cleaned up. City transport body RET said the lengthy closure is need to comply with official rules for dealing with asbestos. In addition, specialist contractors need to be brought in. Passengers who used a Rotterdam metro station, which has been closed since the discovery of asbestos on Tuesday, are said not to be in any danger because laboratory tests have shown the asbestos was present in lower levels than the maximum permitted by law. The use of asbestos, which can cause cancer, has been banned in the Netherlands since 1993 and Europe-wide in 2005. Recently, the government decided that all roofs containing asbestos have to be removed by 2024.  More >

10 groups are after bankrupt hospitals

At least 10 different companies and organisations have expressed an interest in taking over the two Dutch hospital groups which went bankrupt at the end of last month, health minister Bruno Bruins said on Monday evening. Bruins, who had been meeting staff at the affected hospitals in Amsterdam and Lelystad, declined to say if the offers were serious and what parts of the hospitals they were interested in. 'I am going to study them first, very carefully,' the minister said. Earlier on Monday, Cees de Bruin, chairman of the IJsselmeer hospital group's patients' council, said that it was likely to be taken over by Cardiologie Centra Nederland, a public private foundation which runs a network of clinics. CCN published its plans for the IJsselmeer hospitals on its website on Monday. Meanwhile, investigative website Follow the Money claims that the IJsselmeer's group's financial problems were partly due to it buying a specific drug to treat cancer in Germany, even though officials knew the cost was not covered by the Dutch health insurance system. It says the decision to buy the German drug cost it between €3m and €5m.  More >

TV show criticised for anti-vaccine guest

Health minister Hugo de Jonge has criticised television current affairs show Buitenhof for inviting a homeopath who believes vaccinations cause health problems in children to take part in a discussion about the inoculation programme. Earlier this year, health officials warned that the Netherlands has fallen under the 95% norm set for measles vaccinations, giving rise for calls to change the rules to allow daycare centres to ban children who have not been vaccinated. Kraakheldere en overtuigende stellingname van jeugdarts @M1Kamphuis. Maar waarom keer op keer een podium voor bangmakende antivax-verhalen? Medische wetenschap is niet ‘ook maar een mening’, antivax-verhalen zijn niet onschuldig. Álle kinderen verdienen bescherming. #ikvaccineer — Hugo de Jonge (@hugodejonge) November 4, 2018 De Jonge praised paediatrician Mascha Kamphuis who challenged anti-vaccine campaigner Anne-Marie van Raaij but went on to say: 'Why do we offer a platform time after time to fear-mongering anti-vax stories,' he said. 'Medical science is not simply "an opinion" and anti-vax stories are not blame-free. All children deserve protection.' Last year 90% of two year-olds in the Netherlands were vaccinated against measles. Dutch children are offered the multi-vaccination, which includes protection against mumps and rubella as well, at fourteen months and nine years old.   More >

'Two more hospitals in financial trouble'

At least two more Dutch hospitals are in financial trouble - the Amstelland hospital in Amstelveen and the Zuyderland in Sittard-Geleen in Limburg - Trouw reported on Friday. Last week, the Slotervaart hospital in Amsterdam and the IJsselmeer hospital group in Lelystad went bust after failing to agree a cash injection with health insurers. Trouw says the Amstelveen and Geleen hospitals are bottom of the list of 14 hospitals with poor finances identified by accountancy group BDO. It points out that the Amstelland is ranked lower than the IJsselmeer hospital group and has not yet published its 2017 figures. The Zuyderland medical centre's problems have been caused largely by a 10-year old €400m loan used to pay for new building work, the paper said.   More >

Hospitals go bust, minister denies blame

Health minister Bruno Bruins told MPs on Wednesday that it is crucial that emergency hospital care remains available in Lelystad, despite the bankruptcy of the local hospital group. Bruins was speaking during a parliamentary debate on the closure of the IJsselmeer hospitals and the Slotervaart hospital in Amsterdam after they went bust last week. Both hospital groups were owned by a private healthcare company. Bruins said he did not yet know how to ensure acute care remains in Lelystad  but said he will talk to health insurers and other interest groups in the next few weeks to come up with a solution. Health insurers had refused to bail out the hospitals by paying for more treatment in advance, because they had their doubts about the institutions’ solvency. MPs are highly critical of the way the two hospital groups collapsed. They applied for court protection from creditors last Tuesday and were declared bankrupt two days later. MPs described the collapse and aftermath as ‘chaotic’ and ‘panic football’, and accused the minister of failing to do his job properly. Bruins said that while he is responsible for providing good healthcare to all, he should not be blamed for the bankruptcies. Danger Meanwhile, the Parool reported on Wednesday that at least one patient at the Slotervaart hospital had been in serious danger because of the hospital closure. He was undergoing an intense series of chemotherapy but had to be moved to a new hospital on Friday morning. He was first taken to the wrong hospital in the ensuing chaos and it was 'an extremely serious' situation, doctors told the paper. The case has been referred to health service inspectors. Asked about the case during the debate, Bruins said 'there was no question of a life-threatening situation'.  More >