NL will spend quarter of GDP on healthcare by 2060, current policy unsustainable
The quality of healthcare is under pressure, which is why politicians must quickly make difficult choices and set priorities. This is the opinion of the Scientific Council for Government Policy (WRR), one of the most important bodies that advise the cabinet.
According to the council, the costs of care could almost triple in the next 40 years. Healthcare now costs about 6,000 euros per Dutch person, in 2060 this will be about 16,000 euros. By that time we will not spend 13 percent, but about a quarter of the total economy on healthcare. This is partly due to the aging population. "And then one in three people will have to work in healthcare, compared to one in seven now. We then have to use almost our entire prosperity growth for rising healthcare costs."
In order to get more people to work in care and limit staff shortages as much as possible, politicians could arrange for more people from abroad to come to the Netherlands to work in care here. Tax measures and a good balance between work and home can also help to make the profession more attractive, according to the WRR.
The council warns that there is no longer any possibility of postponement on a few subjects. "Society must be prepared for increasing scarcity in healthcare and the need for choices." The Council believes that there must be a a "collective core" of care that should continue no matter what: long-term care for the elderly, youth care and mental healthcare. If care falls outside this scope, people will have to contribute more themselves.
Healthcare is about more than just money, the WRR also emphasized. Due to the focus on the financial side, the quality and accessibility of, for example, youth care and mental health care have "dropped severely below par".
The Dutch Association of Hospitals does not agree with the WRR's analysis. According to chairman Ad Melkert, the advice amounts to a call to cut spending, and he finds that disconcerting.
Reporting by ANP.