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Hospitals get ready to start treating non-coronavirus patients again

THE NETHERLANDS. Family doctors have made 360,000 fewer referrals to hospitals since the government first brought in measures to stem the spread of coronavirus on March 12, the national health council NZa said on Monday.

In addition, a further hospital 290,500 appointments which had been scheduled were cancelled as the focus turned to tracing and treating people who had become infected with coronavirus, the NZa said. The number of urgent referrals has also gone down.

The government agency is now making plans with hospitals and health insurance companies to pick up the slack and make sure people with non-coronavirus related health problems are treated as well.

People in most urgent need of treatment will have priority and a list of diagnoses has been drawn up to help determine who should be helped first and within what period of time.


‘Everyone realises that regular healthcare needs to start up again,’ said NZa chairwoman Marian Kaljouw. ‘This is why we have to be careful in our choices, so that healthcare providers can focus their energy on the people who need it most.’To make sure that there is enough room in hospitals for regular care, the policy of spreading coronavirus patients nationwide will continue, officials say.

In addition, intensive care units are still operating at 180% of capacity and that too has to be taken into account.‘The interests of other patients who need care, the carers who want to help them and the coronavirus care that is ongoing, will be in direct competition,’ one doctor told the Volkskrant. The decision to re-start other forms of care will ‘not make things easier,’ he said.

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