Germany picks up costs for Dutch Covid-19 patients treated in German ICU’s
The German government said it will cover the costs for dozens of Covid-19 patients who were transferred from the Dutch healthcare system to hospitals in Germany. Some 58 residents of the Netherlands were treated in German intensive care units when the Dutch ICU system reached full capacity at the first peak of the coronavirus pandemic in April, according to figures from patient coordination office LCPS.
The decision to spend millions of euros to care for foreign patients was one of European solidarity, German Health Minister Jens Spahn said. "Europe stands together, even in times of crisis," he said when he made the announcement in April that Germany would help patients from Belgium, France, Italy and Spain. The costs rose to about 20 million euros in total.
The patient transfers started in early April, as the Netherlands reached its peak of over 1,400 Covid-19 patients in ICU. Most transfers arrived in Germany by April 15, and the last remaining patient from the Netherlands ended up dying in a German hospital in June.
Those months of emergency relief will be covered by Germany, spokespersons from the Dutch and German health ministries confirmed to Nu.nl. While the Netherlands spent years reallocating healthcare resources and cutting its ICU capacity to provide more service in other areas, Germany maintained over 30 thousand ICU beds.
At the time the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus began, the Netherlands had fewer than 1,200 permanent ICU spaces. That equated to about 6.61 intensive care spaces per 100 thousand residents, among the lowest in Europe.
By comparison, Germany maintained 29.2 ICU beds per capita. It was the highest in the European Union according to a 2012 academic paper published in Intensive Care Medicine.