Hospital, mental health care almost back to pre-coronavirus levels
Mental health care, specialist care, and hospital care are all heading back towards normal levels from before the coronavirus pandemic. "Not all care is caught up, but patients generally receive the care they need. There is also room for less urgent care," the Dutch healthcare authority NZa said based on new figures on Wednesday.
The coronavirus outbreak brought most non-urgent care to a halt, as healthcare workers focused on caring for the vast number of Covid-19 patients. In the first half of this year, there were 791 thousand fewer referrals to medical specialists than usual. And as of March, there were 63 thousand fewer referrals to mental health care than expected based on last year's figures.
"The number of referrals from general practitioners to hospitals is almost back to pre-crisis levels," NZa said. In June medical specialists saw 150 thousand more patients than the same month last year. And the number of patients treated in hospital is now estimated at more than 90 percent of what was expected based on last year's numbers. The number of outpatient treatments is also almost back to normal.
Referrals for mental healthcare is now back to over 90 percent of expectations. Though the number of patients entering mental healthcare has not yet fully recovered, based on figures from three large mental health institutions.
Population screenings for cancer have resumed, but are not yet at full capacity. Colon cancer screening resumed on May 11 and a total of over 116 thousand people were invited to be tested in June - 78 percent of the number invited in June last year. Breast cancer screening resumed on July 8 at 40 percent of the normal capacity. And cervical cancer screening started again on July 1, at full capacity.
"The care seems to be developing into a new normal situation, in which all care can be provided again," NZa said, calling it a great achievement for hospitals, clinics and all healthcare workers. The authority will continue to closely monitor the situation, keeping an eye on waiting times and staying alert to bottlenecks.