Friday, March 11, 2022 – 16:42 Update: 03-11-2022 16:48
There were already health care problems before the Corona pandemic, but now the health care crisis is starting to emerge in the Netherlands. Society is increasingly critical of the government’s role in this, which sometimes appears to be in direct conflict with medical professionals, hospital staff, and patients’ wishes. A new page in this dark chapter of Dutch healthcare is the closure of the Department of Cardiac Surgery (Pediatrics) at UMCG and the Center for Congenital Heart Defects Amsterdam-Leiden (CAHAL). In a period when capacity and access to care is more important than ever, it seems that curtailing care goes against this. Could this development determine the course of health care policy we can expect in the coming years? This article takes a closer look at Dutch healthcare numbers.
Decreased number of hospital beds
In recent years, there have been more and more indications of healthcare curtailment in the Netherlands. Let’s call it a hot topic right away, the number of available hospital beds is still decreasing every year. in numbers from Health and care status The annual decrease in the number of hospital beds is clearly visible. This information is up to 2018 and reaches 39,900 beds that year. from source CBS A known figure for 2019, when there were 38,700 hospital beds. For comparison, in 1980 the Netherlands had 73,100 hospital beds, almost double the number.
The number of health professions is on the rise
The same source from Statistics Netherlands shows that the number of professions in the care sector is increasing sharply. Figures from healthcare professions show that in 2019 there were 12,455 general practitioners in the Netherlands. This is 4,745 more than in 2000. The number of medical professionals also increased from 10,575 in 2000 to 20,850 in 2019, almost doubling. The question arises: how does the number of medical specialists increase, while the number of hospital beds decreases? A possible explanation for this may be that the duration of hospitalization has decreased: in 2000, the average length of hospital stay was 8.4 days and this decreased to 5.2 days in 2019.
health care use
In 2019, 68.7% of the population aged 0 or older had contact with their GP in the past 12 months. Striking: a 6.9% decrease compared to 2000. What about visits to medical professionals? Figures from Statistics Netherlands show that in 2000, 38% of the target group surveyed used specialized care. In 2019, this slightly increased by 39.9%.
Health care costs are rising very quickly
Fewer hospital beds, the number of medical specialists nearly doubled and the number of patient days reduced. What is the impact on health care costs? Total healthcare spending was €45.4 billion in 2000. This rose in 2010 to €58.8 billion and to €116.2 billion in 2020. Within 20 years, these costs have more than doubled. Given that health care costs were already rising sharply before the Corona pandemic, they are expected to increase even more due to Corona. Is there no way to stop this trend?
Deterioration in access to care?
With a healthcare policy that costs the Netherlands much more money each year, and in which specialists, hospital staff and patients do not always agree with the government, the dialogue seems to be lost. The argument put forward for the centralization of cardiac surgery, for example, is to ensure the quality of care in the future. However, the timing of this decision is particularly unfavorable, especially in a period when the capacity for nurturing leaves something to be desired. To dig into the numbers again, the Heart Foundation is talking on the basis of figures from the Dutch Society for Thoracic Surgery about 4,000 heart patients who have not received treatment since the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic due to limited IC capacity.
Now that Dutch healthcare has come under heavy pressure, the bright spot is that there are new initiatives. Access to new care or medication, for example New treatments for Parkinson’s diseaseheart disease or cancer, TheSocialMedwork† It helps patients access medicines in a safe and legal way in countries that are not yet on the market. In today’s healthcare environment where patients are looking for reliable information and appropriate treatments, initiatives such as TheSocialMedwork can provide some relief.
“Total coffee specialist. Hardcore reader. Incurable music scholar. Web guru. Freelance troublemaker. Problem solver. Travel trailblazer.”