Demissionary Minister Hugo de Jonge of Health wants to set up a few test sites this winter that are only focused on covid care. At first, departments in hospitals are considered.
“Lets try it out in one, two or three spots in the second half of this winter,” De Jonge said Wednesday evening in the corona debate. A majority of parliament also called on Thursday to start this as soon as possible. Together with JA21 and the SGP, the CDA submitted a motion on pilots of concentrated covid care, where, for example, care reservists and pensioners can also be deployed.
The idea behind the centralized covid care is to organize it more efficiently. The care is now quickly overloaded with a corona wave, so that operations are postponed or personnel fail. If the pilot projects work well, De Jonge wants to be able to use it more broadly in the autumn of 2022 and beyond.
Nieuwsuur recently watched the Emergency Department of the Gelderse Vallei hospital in Ede for two weeks and saw the pressure rise:
Armand Girbes, intensivist at the Amsterdam UMC, is talking about this idea with the Ministry of Health. In April 2020, he already came up with an idea to centralize covid care. As an example, he mentions Madrid, where a special covid hospital was set up. For the Netherlands, a central covid department or center would be a good start, he says.
Girbes is happy that the Ministry of Health and the Chamber now want to work on it, but at the same time says that it cannot be arranged just before Christmas. And to make it successful and future-proof, it must meet some conditions. According to Girbes, that starts to organise differently from healthcare than we are used to now.
Girbes: “It starts with flexibility. You need to be able to scale and scale an ICU and a nursing department from a small to large capacity. And that also applies to the staff. Care staff must be able to focus on one case for a few months, in twelve hour shifts instead of eight hours, and they must be able to stay overnight. On the other hand, you have to put 100 percent covid surcharge.”
It is still unclear how exactly that will be completed and what role hospital staff and, for example, health insurers can play in this. According to Girbes, such a covid center could also run in the quiet summer months as a knowledge center for lung covid patients, for example.
Ernst Kuipers, chairman of the National Network Acute Care (LNAZ), says that clustering covid care is not an easy task. In his opinion, attracting staff will be a challenge, but it starts with the question of where you will be setting up that care: “You must have an IC U and clinic next to each other. That also requires a hospital to place all other patients elsewhere. Thats already a major operation. Or that you set up a place outside the hospital with IC equipment and lab departments, in fact, youre building a new hospital.”
Discussions are currently being held to see which hospitals or locations are suitable. And it looks at how the pilot projects can be set up and financed.