Charleroi hospital refuses to take Covid-19 patients from Brussels
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Charleroi hospital refuses to take Covid-19 patients from Brussels

Credit: Belga

The private hospital Le Grand Hôpital de Charleroi (GHDC) is refusing requests of Brussels hospitals to receive Covid-19 patients if they have exceeded their capacity.

As the number of hospitalisations due to the coronavirus continues to rise across the country, Brussels hospitals want to spread the influx of new Covid-19 patients in need of care by moving some of them to other hospitals, such as in Vilvoorde, Aalst and even Charleroi.

However, not all hospitals are eager to receive transferred patients. “The pressure to take in patients from Brussels hospitals is unbearable,” Manfredi Ventura, the medical director of the GHDC, told La Capitale, denouncing the lack of transparency.

Ventura has already refused patients from Brussels, preferring to first receive transfers from GHDC’s own hospital network and from the same region. “Why should I compromise our capacity and care for the people of the region, just because they do not function well in Brussels?”

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He clarified that he has no issues with taking over patients from Brussels hospitals, but only if the situation in the capital is worse than it is in Charleroi. “We want to see evidence of that,” Ventura said.

The Charleroi hospital is not the first to refuse patients from Brussels, as last week, the Mayor of Aalst Christoph D’Haese also said he would no longer accept new transfers of coronavirus patients from Brussels, saying that “there were limits to medical solidarity.

The hospitals in Aalst, however, distanced themselves from D’Haese’s statement and said that they would still admit Brussels patients if they could.

Additionally, 14 hospitals across the country refused to receive patients from other hospitals last weekend, according to a letter sent on Tuesday to all hospitals about scaling up their capacity, reports De Standaard.

From Wednesday 14 October, all hospitals in Belgium will move to the so-called phase 1A, in which they have to reserve 25% of the beds in their intensive care unit for coronavirus patients.

“Of the approximately 2,000 intensive care beds, some 500 will be reserved for coronavirus patients,” said Geert Meyfroidt, chair of the Belgian Society of Intensive Medicine. “This will also make it easier for hospitals to distribute patients.”

In the three hospitals of the Chirec group in Brussels, however, all beds for coronavirus patients are full, and have even exceeded their planned capacity.

“If the decision is made to move to phase 1B, part of the regular programmed care in our hospitals will have to be postponed,” Philippe El Haddad, General Medical Director at Chirec, told Bruzz.

As the other hospitals in Belgium are not saturated, however, the step towards 1B will not be made yet. “At the moment we are continuing to transfer patients to hospitals where there is still capacity within phase 1A,” he said.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times