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Up to 15% of Belgium’s hospital staff could drop out

Credit: Belga

In some hospitals in Belgium, up to 15% of staff are at risk of dropping out in the next few weeks, said Marc Geboers, director of general hospitals at Zorgnet-Icuro.

The umbrella organisation had a meeting on Thursday morning with the Hospital & Transport Surge Capacity working group of the federal government.

Since Wednesday, all Belgian hospitals have had to scale up to phase 1A, whereby a quarter of the intensive care beds are kept free for Covid-19 patients.

At the same time, the pressure on staff has also increased enormously in recent weeks and may even increase further. Zorgnet-Icuro even fears that in some hospitals 10 to 15% of staff may drop out in the next few weeks.

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“A lot of care personnel are themselves sick or have to spend some time in quarantine,” said Geboers. “But there are also a lot of staff who are under threat of burn-outs, because the pressure on their shoulders has been very high for a long time.”

“If further scaling up is needed, that can cause problems in some hospitals,” he added.

That’s why Zorgnet-Icuro had a meeting with the federal working group. “Among other things, we asked them to draw up clear rules on quarantine, so that we can keep staff outage to a minimum,” Geboers explained.

“We also hope that there will be an influx from other branches, which are struggling with technical unemployment, in order to relieve the staff in other care tasks. These proposals will now be discussed federally.”

If there are no solutions and the pressure on hospitals continues to increase, Geboers sees no other solution than to reduce non-essential care further in the coming weeks.

“We will then have to use staff from other departments to assist in the treatment of Covid-19 patients. And that, of course, will have consequences for non-urgent care.”

The Brussels Times