Former Cabinet again accused of interfering in Outbreak Team reports
The Ministry of Public Health not only asked "clarifying questions" about advice from the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chairman of the Dutch Safety Board (OVV). "There were also parts that really involved content." For example, when it came to distributing personal protective equipment, such as scarce face masks. Nursing homes were left at the back of the queue because of decisions by the Ministry.
Dijsselbloem acknowledged that there was time pressure, resulting in the final versions of OMT recommendations not being submitted to the team members. There was, however, time to submit concepts to the Ministry, which provided substantive comments. "A remarkable observation," Dijsselbloem said.
Nieuwsuur reported last week that officials interfered with the independent experts' advice. For example, an official wrote about the protective equipment advice that it "could be a little sharper." That passage was subsequently adapted.
Ernst Kuipers, the successor of then Health Minister Hugo de Jonge, said in response to the Nieuwsuur report that his officials only asked "clarifying questions." The OVV sees it differently.
Reporting by ANP.