For the first time in six months, operations have been canceled again due to the corona pressure. The Isala Hospital in Zwolle decided to cancel twenty operations this weekend due to capacity problems.
The hospital is struggling with a growing flow of Covid-19 patients. In the region of the hospital, the vaccination rate is relatively low, such as in the municipality of Staphorst, where 56 percent of the adult residents are fully vaccinated, compared to 83 percent nationwide. The growing flow of patients in the clinical ward and in the intensive care unit consists of 80 percent unvaccinated people.
Also read: Ministry against care: this winter more than 1,350 IC beds and concentration of corona care
According to board chairman Rob Dillman, the increase in the number of Covid patients at Isala started last week and the hospital, like other hospitals, is struggling with a shortage of nurses. In the radio program With a view to tomorrow he warned about it on Saturday evening that there is currently only one solution: phasing out the other more planable care. “As awful as that is, we do it with pain in our hearts.”
The operations that were canceled on Saturday were actually ‘catch-up operations’, interventions that had already been postponed due to the pandemic. Covid-19 patients from Zwolle were also distributed among other hospitals in the country this weekend.
There is growing dissatisfaction among doctors and patients about hospital capacity. Last week, the Ministry of Health asked hospitals to expand their capacity to 1,350 intensive care beds. But according to the hospitals, this is not feasible, mainly due to a chronic shortage of staff. Recently internally, emotions ran high in Erasmus MC when IC head Diederik Gommers presented plans to increase IC capacity.
Because hospitals have been running at full speed in some departments for a long time, there is a higher absenteeism due to illness. And because the quality delivered is necessarily worse, many doctors suffer from stress, frustration and even burn outs. According to the head of intensive care at VUmc, Armand Girbes, the current situation is leading to a downward spiral with more and more staff loss due to looting. “What is happening now is that healthcare workers are exposed to enormous moral dilemmas: one cannot do what one wants to do and was used to doing. People work below the standard that has always been set and that they have set themselves,” he says in the trade journal Arts & Auto. According to Girbes, it mainly requires courage from doctors to tell the outside world ‘that it is not possible’.