Hospitals are forced to postpone heart and cancer surgery
Hospitals are forced to further push back regular care due to the increasing number of corona patients in ICU wards. Some of them are now also postponing heart and cancer operations. National newspaper De Volkskrant reports this on the basis of a tour of hospitals and heads of ICUs.
On Saturday, there were 787 people in intensive care in the Netherlands. On Friday, the National Acute Care Network decided to further scale up the total number of IC beds, from 1,450 to 1,550 beds.
This upscaling will be at the expense of other care. Until now, hospitals mainly postponed operations for less acute health hazards, such as knee or hip operations.
"But we had said of operations that we cannot postpone for more than six weeks, such as open-heart surgery or some cancer treatments, we do not want to scale them down," Diederik Gommers told the newspaper. He is an IC doctor and head of the Dutch Association for Intensive Care. "We are now at the point where we can no longer live up to that."
The Radboudumc in Nijmegen, among others, has already postponed this so-called class 3 care. "The operational teams check every morning what is possible, whether there is room on the IC for an operator," a spokesperson told de Volkskrant.
Lack of personnel
In the UMC Amsterdam, operations are being postponed and ICU nurses have to divide their attention among more and more patients. "Every time we go a step further, while we actually think: that is not possible."
The core of the problem, according to Gommers, is a lack of personnel. According to him, this is partly due to the high absenteeism due to illness. In some hospitals, he says this is above 10 percent.