Dutch gov't ignores vulnerable people: advisory bodies

Elderly lady in a nursing home (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Magnus Fröderberg)Elderly lady in a nursing home (Picture: Wikimedia Commons/Magnus Fröderberg)

The Rutte III government has too little regard for the thousands of vulnerable people in the Netherlands who do not receive the care that they need, the National Ombudsman, the Netherlands Court of Auditors and social and cultural planning office SCP said in a joint statement on Wednesday. The Tweede Kamer, lower house of Dutch parliament, is discussing the healthcare budget on Wednesday afternoon, NU.nl reports.

According to the three advisory bodies, people who need long-term care like psychiatric patients, elderly people with dementia, and young people with a mild intellectual disability often can't find their way to the care they need. This is partly because the government provides too little information about this, and partly because it is often impossible for citizens to find their way in the difficult to understand healthcare system. 

The Ombudsman, the Court of Auditors and the SCP launched separate investigations after receiving, independently of each other, various signals from society that things often go wrong with the care for these vulnerable groups. It also concerns the three bodies that this group will only grow larger in the coming years due to the aging population. They call on the government to take swift action to make sure this group no longer falls through the cracks.

Their call came with a number of recommendations to solve problems these specific groups face. One such is making sure that vulnerable people that need acute help get their treatment first, and the involved parties can sort out the bill afterwards. It is currently too often the case that vulnerable patients have to wait a long time for treatment because of bickering over who is responsible for the costs of that care, according to the advisory bodies. Setting up a 'bridging budget' this group can make use of, could remedy this. The advisory bodies also recommend that the government simplify the procedure vulnerable people have to go through to get help.