Coronavirus aggravating staff shortages in healthcare

The already existing staff shortages in the Netherlands' healthcare sector are becoming "even more pressing in the fight against the coronavirus," nurses' and carers' professional organization NU'91 said to RTL Nieuws.

The Covid-19 outbreak means more work for healthcare workers, combined with more healthcare workers taking sick leave. Dozens of hospital workers have been diagnosed with the virus, including an estimated 4 percent of hospital workers in Noord-Brabant - the province with the most Covid-19 infections. Care institutions in there especially are facing problems, now that the RIVM called on locals to stay at home with even mild cold-like symptoms.

According to NU'19, this instruction is leading to uncertainty among healthcare workers, who don't know when exactly they should stay home. "It creates a difficult dilemma. How difficult is it to call in sick knowing that this leads to an acute problem in staffing? Normally it is already the case that there are personnel problems when people report sick. This measure creates an even bigger problem," a spokesperson said to RTL.

The organization is meeting with the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sports on Thursday to discuss the availability of protective equipment. The problem of staff shortages will then also be brought up.