Basic and mixed surgical distributions in hospitals have been delayed by more than a year due to the coronavirus. In the case of non-essential care, it is already 4.6 years. This was stated by the National Institute of Health and Disability Insurance (RIZIV) after an audit.
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To estimate the impact of Covid-19 on hospital care, the Hospital Audit Service, in collaboration between RIZIV, FPS Public Health and the Federal Agency for Medicines and Health Products (FAMHP), conducts regular audits. Focuses on the backlog of care and entry time.
Three types of care are distinguished in the review: basic care, the delay of which can cause significant health harm to the patient; non-essential care, the delay of which does not harm the patient’s health or leads to limited harm; And finally, mixed care, which may or may not be necessary depending on the context.
For the Covid-19 period from March 2020 to May 2021, RIZIV/INAMI noted the backlog during the first, second and third waves, catching up between waves, with an absolute peak in March 2021.
The first wave (April 2020) saw a significant reduction in essential surgical supplies, and slightly bypassed hospitals during the summer of 2020.
During the second wave (November 2020), essential surgical allocations fell to 80 percent of normal and non-essential surgical exemptions to 33 percent.
From December 2020 to March 2021 there was a catch-up. “At its peak in March 2021, the number of essential surgical distributions performed was 118 percent compared to the years prior to Covid-19. The number of non-essential surgical distributions was 127 percent. These entitlements are much greater than those followed by the first wave,” it appears.
During the third wave (April-May 2021), the slack catch-up froze and the backlog rose again.
According to RIZIV/INAMI, vascular surgery (28 percent) and otolaryngology (40 percent) in particular have a backlog of care and are not yet showing a trend to catch up. However, there are a number of ocular benefits that are known to be “overused”. This means that not all of these benefits have to be fully compensated.
“We estimate that it will take 1.2 years to make up for all essential and mixed surgical layoffs. For non-essential care, this is 4.6 years, including catching up from ‘overuse’,” it was reported.
In order to be able to estimate runtimes, a scenario was used where an average additional capacity of 5 percent could be released, in part via a higher efficiency, compared to 2019.
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