Healthy children detained in hospital because of shortage of youth care places

Sunday, 17 June 2018 09:36
Healthy children detained in hospital because of shortage of youth care places ©Belga
Children who are vulnerable but physically healthy have been lodged in the St-Pierre hospital in Brussels for months, because of a lack of places at specialised child-care facilities, doctors have revealed to the Mediahuis papers.
The medical staff at the hospital (pictured) argue the establishment does not have the support services the children require. At the same time, healthy children are taking up beds that should be available to sick children, who at present have to be found other places elsewhere, imposing a burden on families who live in the capital. The hospital, in the Marolles area of the city centre, lies close to two of the main metro lines, as well as three bus routes.

All Brussels hospitals which have a paediatric department also have places for emergency situations involving children who are not ill. But in this case, chief of staff Elisabeth Rebuffat of St-Pierre told the papers, children have been waiting three to six months to find a suitable place in an appropriate institution.

“However things could take even longer, up to even nine months if we are looking for a place for a child with autism or another psychological disorder.”

Not only is there no adequate support network, but the hospital environment is far from suitable, there is a risk of infections, and some aspects of the care of the children concerned are not reimbursed by medical insurance, medical staff said.

The main problem is that healthy children are taking up beds needed by children who are medically ill. But the hospitals are obliged to take the healthy children on, on the orders of a youth magistrate. And as one explained to Mediahuis, the lack of places in suitable child-care institutions leaves the magistrates no choice.

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times
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