Coronavirus: Belgium approves use of hospital resources to relieve nursing homes
Share article:
Share article:

Coronavirus: Belgium approves use of hospital resources to relieve nursing homes

© Belga

A government agreement reached Wednesday in Belgium will allow for hospital staff and resources to be deployed in nursing homes grappling with clusters of the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

While non-binding in nature, the deal lays the groundwork for health authorities on a regional level to mobilise hospitals to make up for shortages of staff and equipment in Belgian nursing homes and other residential health care centres.

“So long as their primary care missions are not comprised, this general framework foresees that hospitals may support institutions of care for the elderly,” a press release from the Interministerial Conference on Public Health (ICPH), which approved the deal, said.

Related News:


While the ICPH is traditionally made up of federal health ministers and of Belgium’s regional and language community governments, the meeting on Wednesday also included Minister Philip De Backer, who is managing Belgium’s shortage of medical supplies.

The deal comes as nursing homes emerge as major infection hubs in Belgium, with authorities racing to ramp up testing amid both residents and staff.

Last week, federal health officials estimated that nursing home residents made up nearly half of Belgium’s Covid-19 deaths, an estimation which has since been publicly challenged by a virologist who is a member of the federal government’s coronavirus advisory team.

Virologist Marc Van Ranst, cited testing inconsistencies to say that nursing home residents reported as having died from Covid-19 may have actually died from something else.

The ICHP said that moves to divert resources from hospitals and into other care centres should take into account “the great pressure under which the hospital care system finds itself and will continue to find itself in the near future.”

Last week, Flemish Health Minister Wouter Beke had last week issued a similar appeal to the “solidarity” of Flemish hospitals, saying it was also in their interest to help nursing homes to avoid an influx of hospital admissions.

To make up for insufficient supplies of bottled oxygen at nursing homes, which is crucial for treating some Covid-19 patients, the deal also calls on hospitals to admit nursing home residents or to delay the discharge of a nursing home residents who do not have access to oxygen supply in their care facilities.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Aggression against railway staff more than doubled since 2020
In the first three quarters of 2021, the number of reports of aggression against national railway company SNCB's staff has more than doubled compared ...
Intervention hotline 1722 activated following bad weather warnings
Following bad weather warnings from Belgium's Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium (RMI), the Federal Public Service (FPS) Home Affairs has ...
Thousands march in Brussels to raise awareness of violence against women
More than 3,000 people took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday afternoon for a national march to raise awareness of violence against women in ...
Efficacy of vaccines against new variant known in a few weeks, virologist says
The efficacy of the current coronavirus vaccines against the new Omicron variant will be clear in one to two weeks, Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst ...
Scientists could have communicated better during pandemic, survey shows
The majority of Flemish people continue to trust scientists, however, only half of them feel scientists communicated understandably during the ...
Closing borders and new travel restrictions: Countries react to Omicron variant
As more cases of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus are being reported across the world, more and more countries are imposing tougher travel ...
Several rush hour train services to be scrapped from Monday
Up to ten peak time trains to and from Brussels will be temporarily cancelled starting from Monday, Belgian railway company SNCB announced this ...
Europe’s largest vintage clothes store is in Ghent this weekend
Europe's largest pop-up store for second-hand clothes is once again setting up shop in Ghent on Sunday, offering more than five tonnes of vintage ...
Animal welfare in EU’s pig meat sector: What’s wrong?
EU has put into place legislation to ensure that animal welfare conditions are respected in its agricultural policy but the breaches of its ...
‘Not feasible’: Doctors refuse to follow new testing strategy
Doctors have warned they will not follow the government's adapted testing strategy which would see vaccinated people who were in close contact with a ...
Flanders introduces ‘invisible’ speed cameras
New digital speed cameras that are essentially invisible to the road user are being introduced on various roads and motorways in Flanders, Flemish ...
Warnings issued for slippery roads across Belgium
Drivers have been asked to watch out for slippery roads from Saturday afternoon until Sunday evening, as snow and cold temperatures are expected ...