“All hands on deck” at Noord-Holland, Flevoland hospitals for weeks in Covid battle
Hospitals in Noord-Holland and Flevoland are dealing with an increased influx of patients and have been working under the “all hands on deck” regime for twelve weeks now, Acute Care Network Noord-Holland and Flevoland chair Mark Kramer told NOS Radio 1 Journaal on Monday.
"We are doing everything we can to provide the capacity to treat critically ill patients, both those suffering from Covid-19 and others," said Kramer, who is also a chairman of the Amsterdam University Medical Center. In the thirteen hospitals in the regions Kramer is responsible for, it has already happened a few times that intensive care units have reached their maximum capacity, requiring patients to be transferred elsewhere.
"The absolute number of ICU patients in the first peak, in April and May last year, was higher than it is now. But that peak was also much shorter then. From October, November it really feels like running a marathon. That staff is mentally and physically exhausted," said Kramer.
An urgent letter published on Saturday and signed by ten ICU doctors from hospitals in Brabant and one in Weert (Limburg), stated that the workload in intensive care has "been enormous for months" and that hospital staff indicate that "they will not be able to keep this up much longer." The intensivists call on Health Minister Hugo de Jonge and chairman of the LNAZ, the Dutch network for acute care, Ernst Kuipers, to "prepare with us for the scenarios that will arise if we can actually no longer provide care."
According to RIVM chair Diederik Gommers, the fact that intensive care units throughout the country are seeing an increased influx of patients in recent days is a result of people not adhering to the measures three weeks ago. "The weather was good at the beginning of April, everyone was close together in the parks. You can now see that in the hospital figures," he said.