Dutch healthcare system further strained amid Covid crisis

AMSTERDAM - The pressure on regular hospital care increased slightly over the past week with 51% of hospitals saying they were not able to perform all of their scheduled procedures, compared to 49% last week. Nine hospitals indicated that they were no longer entirely able to provide critically important care which can be planned in advance within a six-week window, Dutch healthcare authority (NZa) stated in their weekly report.

Medical procedures that can be planned ahead, such as knee, hip or cataract surgeries cannot be provided at all in 35% of hospitals. The rest of the hospitals are able to provide a limited number of these procedures. Acute and semi-acute care generally can still be provided at all times everywhere in the country, NZa said.

In recent weeks, the number of referrals to mental health care providers has been higher compared to the pre-pandemic level. The waiting time for treatment for people suffering from personality disorders, attention deficit and behavioral disorders, delirium and dementia, is considerably longer than last year. Simultaneously, waiting lists for addiction disorder treatments appear to be shorter than last year.

The number of deaths in nursing homes has been relatively low in recent weeks and is below the levels of 2019 and 2020. That is most likely the result of nursery homes staff and residents being mostly fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

At the same time, the number of people receiving long-term care has increased, based on nursing homes' waiting lists.