Long waiting list, lack of staff puts pressure on Zwolle hospital cardiology department
The Isala Heart Center in Zwolle is under serious strains as waiting lists for cardiac care grow. According to De Volkskrant, internal documents state that patient safety could be compromised.
Since March, the outpatient clinic's waiting list has ballooned from 3,000 to over 7,000 patients. The documents warn that patients who are referred to the heart care center from their general practitioner risk emergency room visits as they wait for treatment, according to De Volkskrant.
"Waiting lists are getting longer and the current care is also difficult to fill," the documents cautioned. Part of the reason is a shortage of cardiologists –– two were suspended in July while being investigated for fraud. Although the hospital predicted it would still be able to "provide all patients with the planned care" at the time, this was not the case.
As De Volkskrant reports, the department and hospital's board are in conflict about hiring new cardiologists to replace the suspended ones. This has implications for patients across Overijssel, Drenthe and Flevoland, the areas that the hospital serves.
There is also a general shortage of nurses and the coronavirus pandemic already put pressure on the waiting list. Doctors at the heart center have increased the number of outpatient consultations they conduct and are also working longer hours in the outpatient clinic.
"We are currently doing everything we can together to normalize the situation that has arisen and are doing everything we can to have capacity in order as soon as possible, so that patients can receive the best possible cardiac care from us," a spokesperson told De Volkskrant. The hospital declined to answer questions about the disagreement between the department and the board, or the size of the waiting list.