Healthcare staff too overworked to catch up on backlog: Union
Healthcare union Nu '91 stated its dissatisfaction over the proposed plan for hospitals to start catching up on surgeries backlog caused by the coronavirus pandemic within weeks, newswire ANP reported. Healthcare workers must be given a chance to fully recover and return to work in good health, according to the organization's chair Stella Salden.
“Scaling up regular care and catching up on delayed care has become the guiding principle and not the availability and full health of healthcare professionals. By working this way, the problems will only get worse,” says Salden.
The Dutch medical system currently has some 140,000 delayed surgeries in a backlog caused by the 14-month pandemic. According to the Minister for Medical Care Tamara van Ark, getting caught up by the end of the year is possible and will require non-Covid patients to be spread throughout the country.
Delayed chemo treatments and kidney transplants will be given priority in the process. Other, less acute, plannable care such as cataract surgeries, gallbladder removal, or hip replacement procedures will be made up for as much as possible this year, if necessary with a run-out to early 2022.
According to Salden, the newly proposed plan is widely unrealistic. She said the healthcare professionals are physically and mentally exhausted, and may also suffer from long-term effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic. "We have the prospect of burnouts, stress, and long-term complaints."
Additionally, Salden also spoke of a shortage of medical professionals. Carrying out such an ambitious plan requires enough trained personnel, she noted.
“Running production seems to predominate throughout the plan. But to make up for the delayed care, you mainly need qualified staff. And there is a big shortage of that.”
Van Ark said the hospitals will now be finalizing the plan on how patients will be divided in the coming weeks.