Hospitals to catch up on non-Covid care at night, weekends
Hospitals in the Netherlands will work nights and weekends to catch up on care delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. But most will only start after the summer vacation, first giving their staff chance to rest and catch their breath, AD reports after surveying a number of hospitals.
Figures from Dutch healthcare authority NZa show that an estimated 320 thousand surgeries were performed between March 2020 and May 2021. Waiting lists arose in particular for orthopedics, ENT, gynecology, urology, plastic surgery. As these operations tend to be planned, they were the first to be delayed when hospitals started to become overloaded with Covid-19 patients.
Various hospitals are finding out which of their staff members are willing to work extra in order to catch up on surgeries in the evenings and over weekends. "To start, we will use six operating rooms on Saturdays for catch-up care and we are investigating whether this can be expanded," a spokesperson for the Isala hospital in Zwolle said to the newspaper
At the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, some operating rooms are already used in the evenings. "That means that staff have to work extra, but people are willing to do that. It's extra work with a purpose. That makes it different from Covid, where it was unclear how high the peak would be and how long the extra effort was needed," a spokesperson said.
The Noordwest Hospital Group in Alkmaar will call all 3,500 patients who had surgeries postponed to find out how they are doing. "Our specialists then determine the urgency," a spokesperson said to AD, so that the patients who are worst off are helped first.
Hospitals are also looking at ways to increase efficiency. The Nij Smellinghe hospital in Drachten, for example, is focusing on scheduling only one type of surgery per day. "By doing many of the same operations in one day, such as gallbladder or inguinal hernia operations, you don't have to adjust the operating room every time and you can switch patients more quickly."