Give all healthcare workers priority access to coronavirus testing: Associations
As more people get tested for a SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection week after week, and the percentage of those tested has also steadily risen, several health care worker associations have launched a lobbying campaign to make sure the country's care workers receive priority access to the test. Healthcare union Nu'91, professional association VenVN, and elder care branch association Actiz demand said they want a policy to take immediate effect as they see growing wait times for scheduling the test, according to the Volkskrant.
The Ministry of Health said some wait time is rising because the system is getting accustomed to handling a rapid increase in the number of tests, the newspaper said. The healthcare groups feared this was a structural issue, and not a temporary problem.
The groups told the newspaper they amount of time it takes to receive the coronavirus test results has also increased in parts of the country, like Noord-Brabant and Zeeland. The prevailing advice in the Netherlands is to self-isolate until results are given, which means the health care workers are unable to work during that time.
The three organizations emphasize that it cannot continue like this. The healthcare workers are more exposed to a possible infection because of the nature of their jobs. On top of this, there has been a long-standing shortage of care workers, which can put further pressure on the health system if nurses and other caregivers have to spend time at home waiting for their test, and waiting to hear that they have tested positive or negative.out.
While Actiz wants workers in all vital professions to have priority access, Michel van Erp said it was ridiculous not to prioritize healthcare staff over other vital workers, like teachers, the Volksrant reported. "You cannot equate the essential role of healthcare workers in the coronavirus crisis with any other professional group," he said.
This problem mainly affects care workers not affiliated with a hospital which often can handle the testing of their staff in-house. Outside of the hospital, workers have to schedule an appointment with municipal health service GGD just like every other member of the public.