‘Drowning in work’: occupational physicians cannot handle extra work

‘Drowning in work’: occupational physicians cannot handle extra work
Credit: Belga

Like GPs, occupational physicians cannot keep up with all the extra work caused by the coronavirus crisis, says Eddie De Block, medical director of Cohezio, an external service for prevention and protection at work.

Occupational physicians, who diagnose and treat occupational diseases as well as work-related illnesses and injuries of employees, are now also required to detect high-risk contacts and issue quarantine certificates.

“We are drowning in work,” De Block told VRT on Monday. “It takes an enormous amount of time and energy to try to track down all the contacts, in addition to doing our normal work.”

“The policy is running completely aground,” he said, adding that the new rules – whereby vaccinated people only have to be tested on day 1 after a high-risk contact – brings little improvement.

“We also give out the test code for the second test anyway when someone calls for a first test,” De Block said. “So it does not change much for us.”

De Block therefore addressed the government, wondering “where [they] should put [their] priorities? On our legal duties or on contact tracing? Because the way things are going now, we are neglecting our legal duties.”

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