Hospital waiting lists ‘could be shorter’
4 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — Despite nation-wide concern over hospital waiting lists, research indicated on Tuesday that the lists could be shorter because about 17,000 people are personally opting to delay treatment.
Studies conducted by research bureau Prismant also indicated that thousands of other patients are awaiting treatment in their regional hospital, but could already have been treated at a hospital located outside the region.
Prismant — which was commissioned by Health Minister Hans Hoogervorst to study the nation’s waiting lists — found that in total, 30,000 patients could be swiped from the waiting list.
It found that this group of patients was, for example, not yet ready for treatment because they were concerned about the operation or had delayed treatment due to holidays, a nu.nl news report said.
In a letter to the Lower House of Parliament, the Tweede Kamer, Minister Hoogervorst claimed that waiting lists were no longer a large social problem and that most patients were treated in an acceptable time frame of five to seven weeks.
In total, there are almost 140,000 people awaiting an operation in a hospital, 68 percent of whom are treated on time, meaning within several weeks. The study found 12 percent (about 17,000) are not operated on due to personal or medical grounds.
The Liberal VVD government minister said the attention should now be placed on the 20 percent of patients who are left waiting due to problems of capacity in the nation’s hospitals.
The coalition Cabinet is allocating billions of euros to reduce the nation’s healthcare waiting lists, but Hoogervorst said extra funding is not the right answer. He said hospitals will in future need to work more efficiently, public news service NOS reported.
In future, the minister wants hospitals to take into greater account when planning healthcare the different categories of people awaiting treatment. The focus should thus be on life-threatening illnesses such as heart problems and cancer.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news