Dutch news in brief, Friday 7 November 2008
Find out what’s the latest news in the Netherlands in the roundup of today’s press from Radio Netherlands.7 November 2008
Objections to computerised health records
Health Minister Ab Klink's plan to give all Dutch citizens a personal Electronic Patient Dossier (EPD) received attention in the media. "Massive public opposition to EPD" says the headline in AD, while Trouw says "unexpected opposition to patient dossier".
AD says that Minister Klink believes his EPD plan, which will store medical records electronically for hospitals, emergency rooms, doctors and dispensing chemists to access, will prevent medical mistakes and save time.
On Saturday, the Netherlands received a health ministry folder detailing the benefits of the plan but as both AD and Trouw report, some 15,000 people already filed written objections.
AD writes that a significant number of MPs believe that the EPD folder has "undermined public confidence". Trouw reports that security and privacy issues are the top objections to the EPD. Many fear the data bank, with sensitive medical information, could be entered illegally.
In the Lower House on Thursday Ab Klink said that the system "meets the strictest security requirements", but he failed to calm MPs fears due to the government's recent problems with computer systems.
Utrecht is the most dangerous place to live
De Volkskrant reports that Utrecht is the most dangerous place to live in the Netherlands, followed by Amsterdam, Eindhoven, 's-Hertogenbosch and Rotterdam. According to the Municipal Safety Index (MSI), compiled by a police research bureau, two small villages in the northern province of Friesland are the safest places in the Netherlands.
The MSI was compiled by comparing data from four different categories of crimes including thefts, break-ins, vandalism and serious violent crimes.
Researchers say the index, which is being published for the first time, is a valuable tool indicating where problem areas are located.
However, Utrecht’s mayor says the four categories determining the ranking should be reconsidered. He says, "If breaking into cars didn't count, Utrecht would be ranked as a safer place to live."
World and local economies predicted to fall
De Volkskrant leads with the International Monetary Fund's prediction that western economies will decline in 2009 for the first time since World War II. The news caused world markets to fall.
AD writes that ING predicts the limited global credit will negatively affect Amsterdam more than the rest of the Netherlands. The Dutch capital is the country's financial and business centre and these industries are "sensitive to financial uncertainty".
MPs request to relax the smoking ban
The Christian Democratic Party MPs joined many of their colleagues in the Lower House to request Health Minister Ab Klink relax the smoking ban.
Many small cafe owners say that their profits dropped sharply since the smoking ban was implemented in July, and MPs are requesting the minister "have a serious look at the possibility of relaxing the regulations for small cafes". The conservative opposition VVD also promotes limiting the ban. "We want a permanent exemption for small cafes, but this is a good start," said one VVD MP.
Opposition parties question emergency kit
Two opposition parties, the SP and the VVD, criticised Interior Minister Guusje ter Horst’s plan to provide ministers, mayors and civil servants with an emergency pack. The kit would contain a wind-up radio, pocket knife, first aid kit, whistle and a flag.
One MP said, "If these emergency packs are so useful, why isn't every one getting one?” Another MP asked, "Will that really help, a whistle and a flag with SOS written on it?"
[Radio Netherlands / Jacqueline Carver / Expatica]