Doctors argue for 'seasonal staff' in hospitals
Due to coronavirus, it will remain busy in Dutch hospitals in the coming years, especially during the winter. Doctors think Covid-19 will develop a similar course to the flu. That is why they want to employ special “winter staff.”
“The wave won’t be as big as it is now, but corona will return in the winter,” says Hans Kuijsten, intensive care doctor at the Elisabeth-TweeSteden Hospital in Tilburg. “You have to go to seasonal workers in healthcare.” Kuijsten is arguing for a system in which hospitals have ‘reserve’ staff members who can work on the intensive care in the winter.
Peter van der Voort, head of intensive care at UMC Groningen, would like to create a backup IC in his hospital. “You can use it for something else in normal times, but when the need arises, it can be used as IC. For that, you need a flexible layer of staff that also has n IC basis.”
“Every flu season, the hospital actually has a small crisis,” says Simone Gielen, medical leader of acute and intensive care at Hospital Bernhoven in Uden. “I expect us to get a wave with Covid-19 and the flu. Of course, there will be a vaccine, but we don’t yet know how well it works, for whom and what it does to the spread of the virus.”
Van der Voort also calls a recurring winter wave “a real scenario.” “It will also depend on the vaccination coverage. An advantage may be that corona mutates less quickly than the flu and that vaccines may therefore be more effective,” he says.
Meanwhile, it has been all hand on deck in hospitals across the country. On Friday, the number of Covid-19 patients increased again. Some 2,034 people were being treated, with the rate of new hospitalizations being the highest since November 3.