Limburg hospitals buckling under Covid pressure
The Limburg hospitals jointly issued a cry for lep to Health Minister Hugo de Jonge on Tuesday. "Things can't go on like this," they wrote. "Limburg is heading for a care collapse." They asked the Minister for additional measures and "to start immediately with the booster shot for the most vulnerable patients and all healthcare providers in the Netherlands to reduce the pressure on care."
The Roermond Laurentius Hospital, Maastricht UMC+, SJG Weert, VieCuri Medical Center in Venlo, and Zuyderland Medical Center in Heerlen and Sittard can no longer take in any new coronavirus patients. This makes Limburg the first region to reach its limits, according to the hospitals. "We are heading straight for a care collapse, and the entire system will come to a standstill. That actually means a code black at the local level. We are convinced that other parts of the Netherlands will follow shortly."
The increasing number of coronavirus patients is happening much faster than expected. "In addition, absenteeism among our nursing and medical staff is greater than in the previous waves. To cope with the influx of coronavirus patients, we are forced to scale up Covid care further and scale down regular care. And this is where the limit lies. If we reduce even more regular care to take in corona patients, we will have to cut back on oncological care. That is irresponsible. Moreover, there are many thousands of other patients who have been waiting for months for treatment. The need to help these people increases every day. As administrators of the Limburg hospitals, we, therefore, believe that additional measures are needed not to end up in an untenable situation: the infections must be reduced."
The transfer of patients to other parts of the Netherlands only succeeds "very sporadically," the hospitals said. "All Limburg hospitals are currently well above their 'fair share' of nursing ward and ICU patients. This can no longer continue: we really need your help for this and hope that the regional distribution of coronavirus patients will get underway better."
"This situation can no longer be sustained," the hospitals concluded their cry for help. Again taking patients to Germany, for example, to nearby Aachen, is no longer an option, said the National Coordination Center for Patient Distribution (LCPS). Our eastern neighbors are also struggling with a shortage of healthcare employees and an increase in Covid patients.
Reporting by ANP